Chuck Norris on the NIU Shootings

Why did the shooting at NIU occur?

Chuck Norris explains:

… As I’ve said in different ways in different settings, we teach our children they are nothing more than glorified apes, yet we don’t expect them to act like monkeys. We place our value in things, yet expect our children to value people. We disrespect one another, but expect our children to respect others. We terminate children in the womb, but are surprised when children outside the womb terminate other children. We push God to the side, but expect our children to be godly. We’ve abandoned moral absolutes, yet expect our children to obey the universal commandment, “Thou shall not murder.”

Do we now believe we can consider morality and religion optional, without suffering civil and societal repercussions, despite the warning of our Founding Fathers like John Adams, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other”?

So according to Norris:

Evolution caused the shooting.

Abortion caused the shooting.

Atheists caused the shooting.

And I’m guessing Mike Huckabee (whom Norris supports) could prevent such things?

Unbeknown to many, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has written several books while during his tenure as governor of Arkansas. A decade ago he wrote “Kids Who Kill,” which examines and seeks remedies for school shootings. In it, he points to many modern day factors that contribute to a culture of killing. Among them are a devaluing and disregard for human life… an abandonment of a fellowship and moral center of community like a church; and a complete disregard for moral absolutes.

Or maybe the shooter just needed to take his medications.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • http://www.blueglowy.com Able-X

    Oh Chuck, why could you have not just kept your mouth shut and stayed a funny internet meme. I’m saddened..look at me, I’m sad. He saddens me.

  • Siamang

    I blame violence in the media.

    Kid watched too many Chuck Norris movies.

  • Korinthian

    How’s this for a Friendly Atheist competition: make a funny Chuck Norris joke (in the spirit of the ones we all know of) concerning his whacky christian beliefs.

  • Adrian

    There are so many things obviously and subtly wrong, it’s hard to point to a single sentence that isn’t flawed in some fashion. Truly the work of a master at his peak.

  • http://www.SecularDignity.net Secular Dignity

    I notice that conservatives talk a lot about “personal responsibility”. Yet when something like this happens, they blame the culture, or the environment. It seems like blaming a godless culture absolves people of responsibility. “It’s not his fault he shot those people, it is due to the culture.” Either people are responsible for their actions or they are not.

    Besides, there is a lot of violence in the Bible.

  • Adrian

    I suppose we shouldn’t blame poor old Chuck.

    If he’s right and watching a lot of violent movies is bad for our minds, imagine how it must be to make them. We should give him credit for being able to walk.

  • Kate

    (searching for a positive…)

    …at least he said apes. And not “glorified monkeys.”

    …right?

  • http://blog.myspace.com/johnpritzlaff John Pritzlaff

    This frustrates me so much. On average, atheists are much more moral than Christians.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Animals kill each other all the time.
    Why can’t we?
    Just because we have ‘evolved’ a ‘moral’ conciousness, all the sudden we have to obey rules that other members of the animal kingdom don’t have to abide by?

    Chuck is right in this case. Abandonment of absolute reality and real, objective standards leaves no solid foundation for “oughts” and “shoulds”.

    That doesnt mean atheists do bad things, or atheism makes people do bad things. It means that if atheism is true there is no such thing as “bad”.

  • cautious

    we teach our children they are nothing more than glorified apes, yet we don’t expect them to act like monkeys.

    So if we lied to children and told them they were individual creations of a loving God, they would never do anything bad? Well then we should go back in time to before the Crusades and teach creationism in Europe!

    Any human can choose to be violent (or be driven to violence), and interspecific violence has existed since well before we were unglorified apes. Since violent tendencies will always exist in humans, maybe, instead of seeking scapegoats, we can do things that reduce the ability of unhinged individuals to cause massive amounts of harm.

    Oh wait, in Chuck’s mind, gun control is using both hands. Never mind.

  • cautious

    Animals kill each other all the time.
    Why can’t we?

    …because animals don’t kill each other all the time. If intraspecific violence was the norm and not the exception in animals, they would kill every other member of their species. And evolution can’t work on corpses.

    It means that if atheism is true there is no such thing as “bad”.

    I might agree with this if you said “evil” and then it became this whole theological conversation

    But …no, there are bad things. Causing harm to innocent beings is bad. We can talk about how sometimes causing harm to 1 person is better than causing harm to many, but, in many examples, like, say, the NIU shooting? What happened was bad. Killing five other people and then yourself is bad.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Where did the thought that you have to have religion to have morals start? It’s interesting how so many Christians believe that Christianity is just about having morals and doing the right thing.

    Anyway, the reason why the shootings are becoming more frequent is because of the sensationalism in the media that gives so much attention to the shooter. The media frenzy feeds their need to be significant. And the fact that it is so easy for people to get their hands on firearms these days…. Desparte kids using desparate measures to receive attention and be significant… They know it’s a sure thing.

    On the other hand, we are the ones who perpetuate it by flocking to the TV, the computer, and the newpapers for those stories. The bloodier the massacre, the more newpapers it sells. People love to gawk at other people’s misery. Sad but true. That will not change, but how can we get the media to stop focusing on the shooters?

    Us humans are funny animals.

  • Jen

    Anyway, the reason why the shootings are becoming more frequent is because of the sensationalism in the media that gives so much attention to the shooter.

    I don’t know that I agree. I mean, statistically, there have been college shootings for thirty years (according to NIU-related articles that outlined school shooting), and 2007/8 has a lot of them… but statistically, its probably insignifigant.

    People act as though we are getting violenter as a culture, and I am just not sure we are. It makes sense that we would think we are: media exposure is up, and we aren’t necessarily as aware of the past violence as we could be, given that record keeping is a hell of a lot better these days. But are we really more violent than 100, 200, 2000 years ago? I wonder.

  • Matt

    Notice that he incorrectly bundles morality and religion into the same package, as if to imply that atheists consider morality to be optional. It is ignorant to assume that morality and atheism are mutually exclusive.

    I agree with some of what he says. Our culture is screwed up and we definitely need to make changes. Events like this are indicative of a society with a problem. However, blaming the secular trend in America is a false conclusion. It also doubles as a unique opportunity to glorify a religious agenda and discredit opponents. Frankly, it makes me a bit sick that these tragedies are used as an opportunity to spread propaganda.

    His stance is also ironic considering his role as a mainstream pop culture icon of violence.

  • Chris

    So according to Norris:

    Evolution caused the shooting.

    Abortion caused the shooting.

    Atheists caused the shooting.

    And I’m guessing Mike Huckabee (whom Norris supports) could prevent such things?

    Well DUH!

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    People act as though we are getting violenter as a culture, and I am just not sure we are.

    I don’t think so either, Jen. I don’t think there are more bad people than there were before, nor are they more hostile. I just think those people have easier access to guns now. And the kids who decide to commit those acts probably would have acted out in some manner with or without the media. I was just referring the the fact that these kids chose to get a gun, go into a school, and shoot people. I just think that what they might have seen on the news from previous shootings had a significant influence in their decision regarding how they should end their own lives. (and others along with them)

  • http://crazyrainbowunderwear.blogspot.com yinyang

    Oh, Chuck Norris. ::sighs::

    And I know I’m not the only person who’s bothered by calling Steven Kazmierczak “the shooter.” I know that’s what he’s famous for doing, but I don’t like reducing someone into just that one thing, like it’s all he ever was.

  • Adrian

    Where did the thought that you have to have religion to have morals start? It’s interesting how so many Christians believe that Christianity is just about having morals and doing the right thing.

    I wonder… Many sermons (from what I recall) are extended discussions on morality. Sit and listen to them for enough time, it’s not a big stretch to start to associate moral thought with the church. I think most people just leave it there – a vague association that they probably haven’t thought much about. It takes a peculiar kind of stupid to jump from “we talk about morals in church” to “I get my morals from church” to “them atheists ain’t got no morals.” Get the right sort of church, this idiocy can be helped along by the preacher standing up on his hindmost and shouting it at you :)

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    yinyang,

    I completely understand what you are saying. I’m sure he was and could have been so much more than “the shooter.” But he chose to be known for that. I understand that these kids have pains that seem so unbearable that they resort to these types of acts. I know about rejection and suicidal feelings. I know about being “abnormal” in a crowd of “norms.” But the fact of the matter is, there are consequences for our behaviors. If one decides to go into a school and shoot people, they become known as the “shooter.”

    …And if Chuck Norris says unreasonable things, he becomes known as unreasonable.

  • Claire

    Jen said:

    People act as though we are getting violenter as a culture, and I am just not sure we are.

    You may be right about that, but I do think the scale has changed, and I do think it’s more random. Before, someone with the same problems might have killed his family or a friend he was on the outs with, or someone he blamed for something wrong in his life, or someone who just said the wrong thing. These days, it seems like the same person will get a gun and decide to take as many as possible with him, just at random. I do think this is getting more common. So, maybe not more violence, but more public violence.

  • Claire

    Daniel Hoffman

    Animals kill each other all the time.
    Why can’t we?

    Ummm….. we do. All the time. Often for religious reasons, or for what the perpetrators call religious reason. Seriously, you should watch the news once or twice. You could learn something.

    There are far fewer atheists in prisons than religious people – it’s a very tiny percentage. Where does that figure into your world?

  • AxeGrrl

    Linda said: ” I’m sure he was and could have been so much more than “the shooter.” But he chose to be known for that…..If one decides to go into a school and shoot people, they become known as the “shooter.”

    Wonderfully said Linda:)

    I truly believe that if the media suddenly stopped publicizing the names and faces of these ‘shooters’, we’d see a drop in the number of occurrences. Remove the notoriety/attention, and there would be no ‘blaze of glory’ for these troubled and selfish people to go out in (excuse the grammar:)

  • valhar2000

    Well, I would like to extend Ed Brayton’s challenge to good ol’ Chucky Boy here: If lack of religiosity, accpetance of evolution, and secular government are causes of an increase in school shottings and violence, how come all these things are far less frequent in the rest of the developed world?

    We know that Europe, Japan and Australia are far less religious that the USA, and that acceptance of Evolution in thsoe countries is far greater than in the USA. Secularity of government may be arguable, since some European countries still have state religions, but I would say that, all in all, religion has a greater hold on government in the USA than in the rest fo the developed world.

    So, Chuck, by what magic is the rest of the developed world spared from violence, in spite of its wallowing in iniquity and sin?

  • http://www.theparentheticalatheist.wordpress.com The (Parenthetical) Atheist

    Only the theists glorify humans. Those who understand evolution’s role in the history of life view humans as apes (very intelligent apes, but still apes). It is only theism which has glorified humanity and put us on a different plain in which the rules do not apply.

  • Spurs Fan

    I agree with cautious.

    When was the last time anyone ever heard or saw an incident where monkeys, apes, or any animal went on a violent, random killing spree? It seems that animals use some logic when these things do happen, but, hey I’m no scientist. Does this mean we “devolved” or that more conciousness brings greater “evil”.

    This story is also interesting when you contrast it with the Houston youth group pastor (referenced in a previous post) who just recently confessed to his crime some 13 years later. Notice the Chuck Norris-type Christian reactions to that incident compared to this one.

  • severalspeciesof

    Letter to Chuck Norris:

    “Wow…Finally someone who has the guts to say it like it is. You are certainly right when you say that promoting the idea that we came from apes devalues life. Just ask an American Indian about his/her own history. You’ll see that because we believe that we came from apes that we allowed ourselves to think less of the American Indian, thereby devaluing their lives and allowing us to then massacre them. …Uh, wait,… excuse me,… that happened before Darwin’s “Origin of the Species” book came out…nevermind…”

    Okay, let’s try a different letter:

    “Wow…Finally someone who points out that abandonment of church has caused our moral decay, therefore these shootings. Just look at Europe and their abandonment of church and what that has brought them. Let’s see…lower murder rate, no wait, that can’t be right. Okay,.. let’s try abortion,…lower rate too. Then they MUST have stricter abortion laws than we do…um…they don’t?…Damned, they are just trying to play with our ignorant minds…
    Just keep up the good fight Chuck, and if anything else you could karate chop some sense into those ungodly people just like you do in your movies. You know it’s okay because God is on your side.”

  • Adrian

    When was the last time anyone ever heard or saw an incident where monkeys, apes, or any animal went on a violent, random killing spree?

    Other animals may not use guns, but they’re violent just as we are, some more so. Pair-bonded species tend to be much less violent than humans, full tournament species tend to be much more violent. If I were you, I’d stay away from the whole “monkes don’t go on killing sprees” thing.

    For instance, Gorilla bands are ruled over by a single dominant male, much like lion prides. When the new male assumes control, he typically kills all of the infants from the previous male. It isn’t random, but it’s hard to think of a situation that sounds “worse” than mass infanticide. That’s not to say that Gorillas don’t act in a loving, selfless fashion at other times, but you can’t get too rosey-eyed.

  • Escualidus Arrechus

    How’s this for a Friendly Atheist competition: make a funny Chuck Norris joke (in the spirit of the ones we all know of) concerning his whacky christian beliefs.

    “God didn’t rest on the seventh day. Chuck Norris gave him a roundhouse to the face”.

  • http://bornagainblog.wordpress.com Justin McKean

    I’m stuck on the stupidity of a star of violent action cinema criticizing people who tend to be very non-violent (atheists) for having something to do with a violent act.

    Shame on Chuck Norris and anyone else who would use tragedy to forward their totally unrelated political campaign.

  • http://mytensmakt.blogspot.com/ BryanJ

    I think this lecture by Steven Pinker is relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramBFRt1Uzk

    Basically, his point is that modern societies are in general much less violent than more traditional societies; societies without movies, video games and the teaching of biological evolution.

  • Spurs Fan

    Other animals may not use guns, but they’re violent just as we are, some more so. Pair-bonded species tend to be much less violent than humans, full tournament species tend to be much more violent. If I were you, I’d stay away from the whole “monkes don’t go on killing sprees” thing.

    For instance, Gorilla bands are ruled over by a single dominant male, much like lion prides. When the new male assumes control, he typically kills all of the infants from the previous male. It isn’t random, but it’s hard to think of a situation that sounds “worse” than mass infanticide. That’s not to say that Gorillas don’t act in a loving, selfless fashion at other times, but you can’t get too rosey-eyed.

    Good point. I still proves it’s not random, but it does sound “bad”.

  • Karen

    Interesting how he promotes the book that Huckleberry wrote after the Arkansas school shootings. Apparently H. was roundly criticized for capitalizing on that tragedy (he had a big book deal sewn up within weeks of the shootings) and the families of the victims demanded that he donate some or all of the proceeds. As I recall (I may be wrong) he did not.

  • Darryl

    You won’t find a more violent bunch of people than the Monotheists. Why? Because their violence is rationalized–they’re doing it for God. It’s amazing the human capacity for self-deception. Chuck is no better at thinking than he is at acting.

  • Sarah H.

    Karen wrote:

    Interesting how he promotes the book that Huckleberry wrote [...]

    Ha! Awesome.

  • Jen

    And I know I’m not the only person who’s bothered by calling Steven Kazmierczak “the shooter.”

    Are we sure its not because most people aren’t comfortable with Polish last names?

  • Pingback: Chuck Norris’ delusional speculations on the NIU shootings « The Frame Problem

  • http://crazyrainbowunderwear.blogspot.com yinyang

    Linda,

    I know that actions have consequences, but I don’t see how calling anyone a shooter adds to the conversation. It just puts attention on what’s done and unchangeable, instead of what can be learned from Steven and the others who have committed school shootings. It’s also de-humanizing to a certain extent, which I don’t think is ever good.

    If we change the way we talk about things, we change the way we think about them. And, I’m of the opinion that refraining from calling people shooters would be a step in the right direction.

    (I’m probably making a bigger issue out of this than it needs to be, but I kind of like words. Can you tell? ;) )

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Where did the thought that you have to have religion to have morals start? It’s interesting how so many Christians believe that Christianity is just about having morals and doing the right thing.

    The idea is that if atheism is true, there is nothing more to the universe than matter and energy. We are made up of atoms, pure and simple. We have no soul. We come from dust and return to dust. Therefore, to murder someone cannot conceivably be objectively wrong. It’s matter in motion. Atheists might abstain from murder for all kinds of social and conscience-based and practical reasons, but they cannot give any coherent and consistent account of how murder could be, purely and simply, objectively, and universally wrong (note – distinguish “murder” from “kill”).

    Christianity is not just about morals and doing the right thing. I don’t think someone can believe that and legitimately be called a Christian.

    Ummm….. we do. All the time. Often for religious reasons, or for what the perpetrators call religious reason. Seriously, you should watch the news once or twice. You could learn something.

    I meant “can” in he moral sense of “allowed”. I can’t imagine you didn’t realize that.

    There are far fewer atheists in prisons than religious people – it’s a very tiny percentage. Where does that figure into your world?

    It figures in because everyone without exception is a sinner.
    Also because there is a great difference between genuine Christians and all other people – including falsely professing Christians.
    Also because it is not mere belief in God or a generic god that makes people moral.
    Etc.

  • Adrian

    Therefore, to murder someone cannot conceivably be objectively wrong.

    yawn Even if there’s a god, there still isn’t an objective morality so this still doesn’t answer the question.

    Atheists might abstain from murder for all kinds of social and conscience-based and practical reasons, but they cannot give any coherent and consistent account of how murder could be, purely and simply, objectively, and universally wrong (note – distinguish “murder” from “kill”).

    How does “murder” differ from “killing”?

    Do you really imagine that you can give a “coherent”, “objective” and “universal” reason why murder is wrong, even by assuming a god exists? What could that reason look like?

  • Claire

    Daniel Hoffman said:

    I meant “can” in he moral sense of “allowed”. I can’t imagine you didn’t realize that.

    That exactly what I meant – morally allowed killings, all over the world, all the time, and much of it justified by religion. Did you not realize that?

    It figures in because everyone without exception is a sinner.

    That doesn’t account for the percentages.

  • Siamang

    Daniel Hoffman wrote:

    Atheists might abstain from murder for all kinds of social and conscience-based and practical reasons, but they cannot give any coherent and consistent account of how murder could be, purely and simply, objectively, and universally wrong (note – distinguish “murder” from “kill”).

    Daniel… you’ve said the same thing before. In fact, in this thread, you condemned atheists as having no basis with which to rationalize their morality, other than morality they borrowed from the Bible.

    When confronted with some of the horrors and genocides specifically commanded by God in the Bible, you wrote this:

    God has the right to command genocide against a race of sinners.

    So since the conversation has come around, once again, to atheist morality… And you even make the absurd statement that since we’re only piles of atoms then murder is permitted…

    I’d like to challenge you to either support or repudiate this horror from the long list of bloody horrors the Bible trots out in its “superior” morality:

    I have a hypothetical for you. Let’s assume you were with Joshua’s army and you were ordered by Joshua to kill all that breathe. Unfortunately, you don’t really get the opportunity to trust in God. You’ll have to trust in Joshua and Moses. They tell you that you must kill all that breathe, and in the chaos of slaughter they come across a boy, an Amorite boy. Joshua hands you the sword.

    I know the Bible talks about the glory of killing all that breathe, but it’s not really that glorious as the blade shatters the bone. So, I think we need a real story of exactly what it’s like to slaughter babies. Let’s consider slaughter by sword in Rwanda 1994. It’s a very disturbing story, but I want you to consider it.

    Hutu with Tutsi relatives faced wrenching decisions about whether or not to desert their loved ones in order to save their own lives. At Mugonero church in Kibuye, two Hutu sisters, each married to a Tutsi husband, faced such a choice. One decided to die with her husband. The other chose to leave because she hoped to save the lives of her eleven children. The children, classed as Tutsi because their father was Tutsi, would not ordinarily have had the right to live, but assailants had said that they could be allowed to depart safely if she agreed to go with them. When she stepped out of the door of the church, she saw eight of the eleven children struck down before her eyes. The youngest, a child of three years old, begged for his life after seeing his brothers and sisters slain. “Please don’t kill me,” he said. “I’ll never be Tutsi again.” He was killed.

    So all I want to know Lee is if you who proclaim God’s justice and morality would or would not butcher this boy with Joshua’s sword soaked in the blood of his siblings, while his mother cries and he begs he’ll never be an Amorite again? In that butchering babies with Joshua is a matter of God’s vengeance, how would you determine just how brutally you should slaughter the little boy such as to satisfy God’s vengeance? Would you kill him quickly, or would you hack off an arm, and a leg, then perhaps run him through with your sword and then look back at his mother as you slit his throat to see to it that she too suffers sufficiently for God’s vengeance? How would you determine the brutality necessary to satisfy God’s vengeance?

    This was asked by Badbadbad of a poster named Lee on the IIDB. I ask it of you. Can you please specifically answer each of the questions in the Challenge?

    Since you’ve previously stated that God has the right to command us to commit genocide against our fellow human beings, I’d like you to respond to the specifics in the Joshua Challenge above. I want to know the depths of depravity you’re willing to stomache when following your reasoning that a God-commanded genocide is proper and moral.

    I posted this in the previous thread, but you didn’t see fit to answer. I’d like an answer to the questions asked in the Challenge. I am interested to see how much of this moral morass are you willing to embrace as a Christian. I am wondering how much of a monster you are willing to become in order to justify your Christian belief in a superior morality to humanism.

  • Daniel Hoffman

    How does “murder” differ from “killing”?

    Murder is a species of killing, like Toyota is a species of car. Lions sometimes kill antelopes, and people sometimes are killed by others in car accidents – we wouldn’t call either of those murder.

    Do you really imagine that you can give a “coherent”, “objective” and “universal” reason why murder is wrong, even by assuming a god exists? What could that reason look like?

    I have presuppositions. I don’t believe there is any sense or coherency to reality unless we start with the Christian God. The sinfulness of murder has to do with the eternal and essential nature of God.

    That exactly what I meant – morally allowed killings, all over the world, all the time, and much of it justified by religion. Did you not realize that?

    I don’t care and don’t have to answer for what “religion” in general allows. I believe true religion is that which is taught in scripture (scripture in it’s entirety).

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Siamang,
    I do want to answer your question about Joshua and the Amorites, but I’d like to be able to take the time to think carefully about it and answer it well. Can I get your email?

  • Adrian

    Daniel,

    Murder is a species of killing, like Toyota is a species of car. Lions sometimes kill antelopes, and people sometimes are killed by others in car accidents – we wouldn’t call either of those murder.

    That’s a lot of words to not answer the question. You’ve told me one thing that murder isn’t, so why don’t you tell me what murder is. How can I tell if a killing is murder or not?

    I have presuppositions. I don’t believe there is any sense or coherency to reality unless we start with the Christian God. The sinfulness of murder has to do with the eternal and essential nature of God.

    Also fine and dandy, but it also doesn’t answer the question. Even if you assume a God exists, how could you show that murder is universally and objectively wrong?

    These don’t sound like hard questions and were pulled directly from things you said so why can’t you give me a simple answer to simple questions?

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Murder is the intentional killing of a human without valid grounds. By “valid” I have in mind things like just war, capital punishment, self-defense, etc…. any of which, admittedly, are debatable.

    ‘m not assuming that any old god exists, I’m assuming the Christian God exists and that He has spoken authoritatively in His word – which condemns murder.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Daniel Hoffman,

    You said,

    ‘m not assuming that any old god exists, I’m assuming the Christian God exists and that He has spoken authoritatively in His word – which condemns murder.

    So in your opinion, would that be the only reason why murder is wrong? Are you saying that without knowing the Christian God, we would all be killing each other left and right? Isn’t it possible that perhaps humans (and all living things, for that matter) are instinctively wired to love life and hate death?

  • Daniel Hoffman

    Linda,
    Yes I believe murder is wrong ultimately because man is made in the image of God, and an assault on life is an assault on God. Only God has the authority to take life – and He does delegate, to governments for example. But governments are responsible to abide by the standards God sets.

    Without the Christian God I don’t believe we’d be hear at all. But for the sake of argument, if we were, I have no idea if we’d be killing each other left and right. I don’t think I’d have much of a desire to kill everyone I saw, and I doubt most other people would either. I don’t see how this question is relevant. I’m not talking about what people do or would or wouldn’t do, I’m talking about the basis of morals.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Daniel,

    Maybe I didn’t ask the right thing… Let me try again. You were saying that we would not have any morals without God. You were using murder as an example of immorality; and that without morals, murder would not be wrong. Correct?

    You stated above that

    Atheists might abstain from murder for all kinds of social and conscience-based and practical reasons, but they cannot give any coherent and consistent account of how murder could be, purely and simply, objectively, and universally wrong

    So are you saying that an atheist does not murder because of various conscience-based and logical reasons, and the only reason a Christian does not commit murder is because they were instructed not to? Do I understand you correctly?

  • Adrian

    Daniel,

    Murder is the intentional killing of a human without valid grounds. By “valid” I have in mind things like just war, capital punishment, self-defense, etc…. any of which, admittedly, are debatable.

    By your own definition, many atheists would agree that it is wrong to kill without a valid reason. You’ve just defined “murder” to be morally unjustifiable killing, so of course it can never be justified. It’s tautological and you don’t need a god for that.

    The issue is definitely in deciding what constitutes a justification. You’d said that this could be “universally” and “objectively” wrong, yet now you say that these are up for debate. If it was universal and objective, there would be no debate.

    So, which is it? And where does a belief in God come into play?

  • Siamang

    Daniel,

    I don’t usually give out my email. But if you want to discuss it carefully, feel free to start a thread on the discussion board… that way we can be sure it doesn’t scroll off the page.

    The reason I’m pressing you on this should be quite clear… as a human being, I have a vested interest in dissuading genocide. As a person with friends or family of just about every race, I have something to lose by genocide… loved ones.

    However, your religious text not only doesn’t instruct against this great evil, but it actually speaks gloriously about it. You actually SUPPORTED this view… which is to say you think it’s morally correct to kill if you believe your God wants you to.

    I find this to be unconscionable, unthinkable and I cannot imagine anything more reprehensible and devaluing of human life. It is a brutal story from a time when human life was cheap and disposable. If it is a moral instructor, it is best used as a guide as to how not to behave. I find it quite stunning that you not only don’t recoil with horror at this, but you actively support such a notion.

    Is this the religion we are meant to embrace for eternal life? Are we supposed to quiet our moral outrage when reading these horrors that I would expect more from a Stephan King novel than by the moral guide to the human race written by a perfect being? No!

    If you were to read me the story of the Amorites, sorry, but my sympathy goes to the Amorites. If I was faced with the Joshua Challenge I would NOT perform genocide. Furthermore, if it meant eternal hell for me, I would NOT perform genocide. If it means eternal hell for me now, I will NOT support genocide, I will not apologize for the doctrine of religiously motivated genocide.

    I will stand against the moral failures of the Bible. If it means I burn in hell for saying I abhor genocide, then so be it. If all I believe is wrong, and the monster of the Old Testament really exists, then I’ll spit in it’s eye and burn before I harm innocents for being the “wrong” race. I will not buy my own way into heaven by sating the bloodlust of a bronze-age war god.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Siamang,

    I completely agree with how you feel about genocide, and I, too, will not kill another human being if Jesus himself stood in front of me and ordered me to do so. That’s oxymoronic (is that a word?) anyway. The only time I could see myself committing such an act is if someone tried to hurt my children. Then my killer instincts usually come out. I still don’t know if it could be “justified” in God’s eyes, though. So where is this God who could order genocide? I don’t know if your Joshua Challenge is a fair one. I’m extremely curious to see what Daniel’s answer is.

    However, your religious text not only doesn’t instruct against this great evil, but it actually speaks gloriously about it.

    I was a little bit offended by this statement. I understand what you’re saying, and I’ve always held the position of hating religion to the point of being called “not a real Christian.” However, I don’t know if the words in the Bible speak gloriously about genocide. If that’s what you read and/or the message you got, then I would have to venture to guess that Christians are not the only ones who interpret the scripture any way they see fit.

    You actually SUPPORTED this view… which is to say you think it’s morally correct to kill if you believe your God wants you to.

    When do we get to shed this idea of God as a singular judge-like spiritual “being” who sits above and orders people around… and judge them as to who’s worthy and who’s not?

    You are right, Siamang. People to horrific things to other people. Many times, they use God as their justification for doing so. They also use Democracy and Freedom as valid justifications. How about Revenge?

    When you drop an atomic bomb on a city full of innocent people, does that count as genocide? When you hear comments like “we should just blow that country off of the face of the map,” are they not the comments that come from the mindset of seeing some people as less worthy than us? I’ve heard many non-religious people making such remarks.

    From another angle, when we see millions of children starving all over the world but are more interested in politics and oil, isn’t that in fact a form of genocide? When you stand by and watch someone die when you could clearly do something about it, can you count that as an evil act? If we act in self-interest, self-glorification, and self-preservation, is that evil? If we are willing to do anything as long as it doesn’t affect our own comfort, is that a worthy effort? If our indifference kills innocent people, are we not assisting in those murders?

    I’m not pointing out right and wrong here. I’m just trying to understand why we do what we do.

    You speak as though religion is the only evil in this picture. But I’m beginning to think that religion is not the enemy… human nature is.

    (And please go easy on me in your rebuttal. I always feel like I’m walking out in front of a firing squad whenever I want to think out loud.) ;-)

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    yingyang,

    I’m probably making a bigger issue out of this than it needs to be, but I kind of like words. Can you tell?

    Yes, I can. :-) You are a gifted writer. I love your “words.” I would love to hear from your perspective more often on these threads.

    If we change the way we talk about things, we change the way we think about them.

    I agree completely and wholeheartedly!!! I think it applies to everything in life, not just this one issue. Thank you for that wisdom!

  • http://www.myspace.com/timandjeffrey Tim D.

    I will stand against the moral failures of the Bible. If it means I burn in hell for saying I abhor genocide, then so be it. If all I believe is wrong, and the monster of the Old Testament really exists, then I’ll spit in it’s eye and burn before I harm innocents for being the “wrong” race. I will not buy my own way into heaven by sating the bloodlust of a bronze-age war god.

    I like you. Let’s be friends!

    You speak as though religion is the only evil in this picture. But I’m beginning to think that religion is not the enemy… human nature is.

    Bullseye; at least, I think so. I don’t believe religion itself is inherently evil; there are things one can learn from it that are basically “true,” and there are things one hears about in connection with it that are horrible and disturbing. But the point is, there are both religious and nonreligious folks who can do good and who can do evil, but evil people choose to do evil things regardless of what religion they follow (or don’t follow).

    I find that a lot of religious folks have a sort of trust in their religion because of something they feel they’ve gotten from it, be it a life lesson or a pick-me-up in a hard time, or some other thing. Some people — Pat Robertson, George Bush, Rod Parsely and Creflo Dollar, to name a few — choose to betray this trust and use religion as a means to acquire money or political benefits. I think this is despicable and inexcusable, just as I would think so if some famous atheist person were to go on TV and do what Pat Robertson is doing for (or should I say, “to”) Christians right now.

  • Claire

    Linda said:

    From another angle, when we see millions of children starving all over the world but are more interested in politics and oil, isn’t that in fact a form of genocide?

    Actually, it isn’t – mass killings are not the same as genocide. It’s reprehensible, but it isn’t genocide unless it’s deliberate, systematic, and targeted at a specific group.

    However, I don’t know if the words in the Bible speak gloriously about genocide.

    It’s described in more than a few places (such as the bit from Joshua above mentioned by Siamang), and it’s apparently considered as right and proper since god ordered it. I can’t answer to the word ‘gloriously’ either, since I find the prose more lackluster than stirring, but what is there is bad enough to be going on with.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Claire,

    I almost forgot to reply to this one. Let me just clarify what I meant. I am aware of the meaning of the term genocide. I was just suggesting that perhaps it is just as bad when we think a group of people (i.e. a country, culture, religion, or even a class of people) are less important than us and/or not worthy of attention. I think the feelings of self-importance and superiority go right along with the act.


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