You can be skeptical and friendly at the same time.
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I am age 78, once a Catholic priest for five years (in the 1960's), then a math teacher for 44 years up to the present day. I became an atheist a few years ago. My hobbies are music and chess.
I think many do by abandoning the treatment of their kids to faith/Homeopathy or nay other variants of alternative medicines.
I thought the topic was “What would you do if god told you to kill a loved one”?
But what the hell, let’s change the subject to your obvious pet peeve, homeopathy.
My dog just tells me to maintain proper tire pressure, floss my teeth regularly and keep all grass clippings out of the storm drain.
I really cannot do any better than what Christopher Hitchens said. If I was told to sacrifice them [my children] to prove my devotion to god and admire the man who said “Yes, I’ll gut my kid to show my love of god” I’d say no, fuck you.
I have always been in disbelief at the story of Abraham and his son Isaac. Abraham was actually going to murder his own son on the orders of his insane god. I would tell him to go f*** himself. No was I would ever, ever, ever kill one of my children. Abraham should never be regarded as a great man. He was a murderous, lying asshole.
The first five books of the Bible are composites of three similar stories. The earliest are the Yahweh story and the Elohim story, the stories being named for name they use for God. They were interleaved by a redactor. The Yahweh story tells much about Isaac. The Elohim story has Abraham being ordered to sacrifice Isaac. Then there are a few verses with the name Yahweh supplying the ram. However, Abraham descends the mountain alone and Isaac never appears in the Elohim story again.
Of course, this never happened. There is no god, and there was no Abraham. The story is a fable, created to teach a particular religious principle- complete trust and obedience towards a deity.
But what it really demonstrates is the way in which the single most important foundational stone of an entire major religion- Judaism- is morally rotten. This story has always been held up in Jewish tradition as the defining example of a good man- someone who would kill his own child on the command of God. And this same obscene concept contaminates Christianity and Islam because of their descent from Judaism.
In one story, we see where much of the inherent immorality of all three major western religious traditions originates.
You can also look at this story in reverse. There are only two possible outcomes of the story, both of which end in Abraham NOT killing his son. The first is if Abraham doesn’t do it, the second is God stopping him. (God never intended on killing his son). Maybe God was ultimately teaching, “Obey me and all will end well.” It also may be foreshadowing and an introduction of the concept of God sacrificing one’s son, as in the Gospel story.
In a world full of mental illnesses and psychoses, easily fooled human senses, and a plethora of competing religious narratives, did God mention how we can tell if it’s really Him doing the commanding? Considering the consequesences of what He’s asking, would He really be that offended if we required confirmation before carrying out such extreme orders? Many people have claimed to have done their killing under the command of whatever God they believe in. Should we just take their word for it that He really did, in each and every case? It would seem to me that, since God put “Thou shalt not kill” as one of his top ten commandments, we should be dubious of any “god” who asks us to do just that.
Of course, it works the other way too: if Abe disobeyed, Isaac would not have died. So the message of “Obey me and all ends well” is really “Obey or disobey, things will end well.”
I think either way, the morality espoused by this story is abhorrent.No matter how you cut it, the morraly right thing for Abe to do was to attempt to kill his son, just cause a God said so. That is disgusting.
I really think it’s much more about introducing the idea of God sacrificing his son. Perhaps it was to illustrate how truly horrible that is, and to humanize the story.
It didn’t end so well for Jephtha’s daughter.
No it didn’t. I sometimes wonder a little more about about Isaac and Jephthah’s daughter than their fathers. Why didn’t Isaac fight or run off? Why didn’t the daughter run off who had plenty of time to think about it with her friends? It seems they just complied to what their fathers said and their faith as they were taught. Supposedly they didn’t have (or need?) God speaking to them or influencing them.
I thought Jephtha’s daughter remained a virgin — not that she was killed.
Well, yeah, Jephthah’s unnamed daughter remained a virgin, but she was still sacrificed to God as a burnt as an offering. See Judges 11:30-39, specifically 11:39 where it says “he (Jephthah) did to her (his daughter) as he had vowed (sacrifice as a burnt offering the first thing that came out of his house when he returned home)”. The next line just confirms that she was still a virgin when sacrificed to God by her own father.
You overlook a third option, one which is more consistent with OT morality: God doesn’t intervene and Abraham kills his son. Probably God would reward him for his loyalty by giving him seven new sons, the same way it rewarded Job after allowing his family to be killed off. As long as you give replacements, people are expendable.
So, it was all just an object lesson? At the expense of Isaac’s mental, emotional and possibly physical well-being? What child would not be traumatized at being led to an altar, trussed up and prepared for sacrifice by his own father? Even if it’s just a test by God and Abraham ultimately doesn’t kill the kid, it’s still morally reprehensible because of the emotional abuse inherent in such a command. What kind of God demands such a test of a parent and child?
At another site I criticized several practices of Islam including the stoning of women. A Muslim(man of course) replied to me that he approves the practice because it is in the Koran. Crazier than crazy. At least Abraham’s son would have been killed relatively quickly. If you have ever seen films of a stoning, you can see how horrible it is. But this asshole and undoubtedly millions of other Muslim men find it normal. Nobody deserves to be stoned for anything.
Go to a Bible site that has a “search” option and type in “stoning” or some version of it and type in “dashing” or some version. King James version. You will find that those are two of God’s favorite activities.
The problem here really is, that there’s people hearing “god” talk to them. The bigger issue is mental health. As readers already know, there’s no evidence for god etc. so if he’s being heard, there’s a problem that needs attention in regards the person “hearing” this god/jesus/ghost_thing/Mo etc.. You simply can’t hear something that does not exist. If god’s talking to you, see a doctor…now.
And those people who claim god talks to them, they are deemed mentally Okily Dokily to get guns. But the guy who believes he hears voices, he cannot. Frankly, anyone who believes in sky fairies is not mentally stable and one of the litmus tests for gun ownership should be if you pray or are religious, if yes, no guns.
I think, if god commands it with his voice with which he created the world, then it is quite impossible either to doubt his existence or his power, then it should be impossible for anyone to resists, same as it should be impossible to say no when he commands you to go to hell after your final trial. But on the other side he seems to have also another voice, a friendly personal one, which christians recognise immediately and accept exactly the same way, but which for skeptics and psychiatrists is also known as hallucination. So it is not really fair to ask this question, because the command is comming in the case of a theist and a skeptic from very different reliable sources – which just in the late case can be doubted.
So the interesting question ist not, if you would do it, but if you would have a bad conscience after it.
The problem with religions is not so much that they let people kill or discriminate, that can do also other organisations. But religion can make you feel good about it.
Even if a god could prove he exists and created the universe, if he commanded murder, the answer is still “F *ck you! Do it yourself if you’re all that powerful!”
That’s exactly what I would love to say in such a situation, I’m just not sure because I never met a God before and so I don’t know how I would react in the face of an entity that obviously knows everything.
Look, take euthanasia where you help to kill a person for its own best. This makes just sense, if you realy know and can be sure that there is no other hope to avoid the agony.
As every “true christian” will assure you is that in a personal contact you somehow will be completly aware of gods omniscient and goodness, which from my personal, reasonable perspectiv is complete bogus. But as I said, I don’t know how it feels to be in a such convincing presence.
If god persuade me of his presence, what will need a lot very good evidence, then I will for sure accept also other things. They just go hand in hand. But from this perspectiv is the relationship between god and Abraham much too human and thats why I don’t believe that it is more than a nice little fairy tale.
The Documentary Hypothesis shows how the Abraham/Isaac sacrifice story came to be. The Yahweh story (many verses call God Yahweh and have their own narrative) features many stories about Isaac. A parallel Elohim story also appears. These stories are interleaved by a redactor which explains the doublets -verses that say similar things in different words.
Where Abraham is commanded to sacrifice Isaac, it is Elohim who orders it. A redactor has Yahweh provide the ram. Abraham comes down the mountain without Isaac and Isaac doesn’t appear in the Elohim version again.
The priest who combined the stories did quite a job to reconcile two slightly different religions to allow some war refugees to enter a new society.
Just because I believe in something doesn’t mean I have to do what it tells me. Belief doesn’t automatically equal obedience.
I believe in Republicans, but I don’t trust a word they say. I believe in cops, but I’m not going to trust every word they say, either.
Republicans and cops are not analogous to the all-powerful, infinitely just creator of the universe. Even if they’d like to think of themselves that way.
I think any putative deity that askedme to commit an act that I personally found immoral would not be worthy of obeying.
I have to disagree. An all-powerful, all-just deity whose desires and motives are by their nature unfathomable to mortals (boundary conditions we must accept when we are discussing the Christian god) would always be worthy of obeying.
So you’re a slave then?
If he’s so all powerful, why can’t he make us able to understand?
Because he’s not real.
Better said than most Christians.
I have to agree. If God almighty commands you to do anything, you’d better make sure you do it. Especially if you believe that he is a just and fair god and would therefore have a good reason to visit upon you and your children the misery which such a command would entail.
Well now you’re playing a coy little word game but it does show how religious people base the things they believe in on nothing. ” if you believe that he is a just and fair god” well why would you believe this if you had evidence to the contrary? Wouldn’t a god commanding you to murder your child be evidence that maybe it’s not “just and fair”? I would certainly think so.
And define “just and fair”. “fair” for whom? “just” and “fair” are frankly somewhat arbitrary definitions that mean different things to every individual that says them. What may be “just” to your god, in reality could be completely unfair for the victims. Say like drowning children because their parents sin. How is that “fair” for the children?
You are pre-justifying the gods actions just by your definition of the god. That’s a pretty damn scary mentality that removes your own moral judgment from any decision you think your god wants you to make, which is exactly the point of the video.
Also, i would fight a god for my loved ones. But then, I’m a moral person.
I don’t see how I’m playing word game, coy or otherwise but I can define “just” and “fair” for you. If you believe, as Christians should do, that God is perfect, eternal and omniscient then anything he commands you to do is fair by definition. If you also believe in a perfect, blissful, pain-free afterlife upon your passing then who are you to delay that for someone if commanded not to? Besides, what would be the point of fighting a god who could simply make you do whatever he wanted with the merest whim anyway?
These are the justifications that people use to commit atrocities like murdering innocent people, blowing themselves up and flying planes into buildings. I think we should seek to understand these arguments so we can better argue against them. Does it make them slaves? Yes; but willing ones. You can point out the logical inconsistencies all day but there are whole branches of theology that argue against you. Of course, that doesn’t make them right….
You know I just re-read your comment and don’t know why I thought you where actually arguing for following orders to kill from a god. I must have been hungover, my bad. I do think it is possible to believe in a god and then not do as it says, but that’s pretty rare and as you point out most are just slaves to the god they believe in.
It’s certainly possible to ignore a command but an all-powerful god could just make you do something. He could make you think it was your idea or that even the flimisiest justification was enough to commit the most horrendous atrocities. Of course, he could only do those things if he existed. And we, as a society at least know he doesn’t. Which is why we don’t accept “God told me to do it” as a valid reason to exonerate murderers and rapists in court.
Besides, have I found someone who is pleasant and respectful on an Internet message board? What’s next a conversation on Youtube that doesn’t end in me being called a “fag”? Such miracles are almost enough to make me believe in a god.
“then it should be impossible for anyone to resist” This is your assumption, and it’s a great way to get out of answering the question, but in the story Abraham seems to be completely in control. I hear Christians say all the time that God gave us the option not to worship him because he wants it to be our choice. Why would he give a command to test someone’s faith if he has to force them to do it? Then it has nothing to do with faith, he just really wants to scare Abraham and Isaac.
Please read my answer to Greg G. above.
Seriously? Are we really to the point where we must argue reducto ad absurdum? So, if I find atheists who say that not only must religion be stomped out but that we must also kill those people who would propagate that belief and I get some dogmatic Christian to show just how deranged this shows atheists are, will that be any more valid and absurd that this argument? Get a grip folks. Not only is this an extreme reduction to the absurd, but it is also trying to make an argument from anecdotal evidence. I’m an extremely secular and very non-theistic person. However, you guys are really losing me with this one. Yeah, I’m sure a number of you will say, “well then kiss the fuck off” but you’re really missing the point.
“So, if I find atheists who say that not only must religion be stomped out but that we must also kill those people who would propagate that belief and I get some dogmatic Christian to show just how deranged this shows atheists are will that be any more valid and absurd that this argument?
You could probably find a few atheists who say that, but I doubt that one could then find tens of millions of other atheists worldwide that would not only endorse their views, hold them up as an examples of the highest ideals of atheism and actually revere them as christians revere Abraham.
Or is that also absurd?
Tens of millions? Unless you can point to any evidence other than a blanket assertion you made, then yeah, I’d say that’s more than absurd.
I remember now why I have ignored you until my last post, you could not have missed my point, you are merely being wilfully obtuse and argumentative – as usual. I now revert to my previous ‘ignore RLaw mode’.
Nice dude, when you lose the argument by asserting things that are wholly unsupported by evidence then act like the Wizard of Oz, “Ignore that man behind the curtain.”
F**k yeah I’m argumentative, but I’m damn sure not obtuse. Do you have any evidence or not? It’s a yes or no question really. Seriously, I’m not the one that injected a “tens of million” factual assumption into the equation. You did. Now support it or shut your pie hole.
I ignore thee, I ignore thee, I ignore thee.
I”m a dumbass, I’m a dumbass and I’m totally unable to defend myself. So nah, nah.
I ignore thee, I ignore thee, I ignore thee…..
I agree. Smartest thing you have ever said right there.
Hey Tex, you are a shining example of what is wrong in the Lone Star State; dumbasses parading around like they know something.
Stay in Texas and stay out of civilized society.
Oh, very nice, now we’re going to generalize from people in Texas? Do you even see the logical fallacy of your argument or are you simply that clueless. How about this – kiss my f**king ass.
Hey Tex, in your medicine cabinet, there behind the unused after-shave and razor is a big bottle of Prozac…..in order for those to work, you need to take them ORALLY.
Also, when you use cotton swabs, just go around the canal…..for the love of humanity DON’T POKE, it causes the brain damage you are suffering from.
Those two are free Einstein, the rest have fees.
Thank you for demonstrating to any theists reading here that many atheists are basically ignorant, obnoxious fucks. Of do you have any other rational and logical quips up your sleeve?
Just for the record, I live in Texas, just north of Houston.
So sorry for you. I do hope you can escape.
Wow. We’re neighbors (well at least as close as people around Houston can be.) Should we tell them that Houston has a gay mayor or just let them continue in their ignorance and bigotry? In the meantime, I’m going to drive my pick up to the ranch.
How does it feel to be a dumbass??
OK, so now your list of undesirables includes: 1. People who work at WalMart 2. People who are in the Special Olympics 3. Texans 4. Me
Oh, no, I’m sure her list is much, much longer than that. I’m sure it includes anyone who may happen to dare to think differently her.
Did you miss the story of Abraham and his son?
Seriously, not only does your comment assume facts that you’re clearly pulling out of our ass, but it’s otherwise so fricking stupid as to not be worthy of further comment. Next time try arguing facts and not insane assumptions.
Actually, it IS fact. Your little user manual known as the bible you and your fellow Jesus-buffs is an utter bullshit amalgam, with the parts deemed too controversial removed, ya know, so it appears the ogre of Yahweh appears somewhat less genocidal and murderous.
But, after looking at your moniker it does not surprise me that you have no grasp on fact or how to implement proper education…..sigh…..Texas yet again….
Big sigh. Your argument assumes that I have a user manual. You then imply that everyone from Texas must be a serious dumbass. If you don’t get how stupid and clueless your arguments are then there is little hope for the future of atheism. But, heck, keep the angry edge. I do like it.
Crap, I guess I’ll reply to myself since you folks don’t seem to get it. You are confusing me with someone else. Get a clue. I’m generally forgiving of folks that are a bit clueless and make mistakes but you guys are getting more than a bit annoying. I am trying to avoid any more profanity laced rants out of respect for Hemant and his blog, but I’m getting pretty close to letting out a few more choice words for you morons.
Don’t get Ronlawhouston mixed up with rwlawoffice, who comments here from time to time. They have similar names. Here’s a handy guide:
rwlawoffice – A nutty Catholic who shows up on most posts about Bill Donohue or Edward Tarte, but seems to engage in argument with a decent amount of effort
Ronlawhouston – A non-theist who will make half of a point but defends it only by calling his detractors names (at least that’s the track record so far in this thread)
I will say that part of the reason I called names is that some of the arguments these folks were making were based on the mix up in names and were just so bizarre and way off the wall. I’m sorry sometimes it’s just hard when people say stupid things that are so off the wall that you’re going WTF. Then again, maybe I’m just channeling my inner PeeZus.
Thanks for that post, I was getting them confused. By the way, your analysis of these two is right on the money.
Actually for the record, I am not Catholic. I studied the Catholic faith for a time but am nondenominational and adhere to a free grace theology.
“I’m an extremely secular and very non-theistic person.” I’m having a hard time squaring this statement with your other statements about your church’s out reach to the poor. Those sounded like worth while efforts. Do I need to google your posts on this forum or is there more than 1 Ronlawhouston?
I have asked the question of believers qnd seen others. Even though they feel repulsed by the idea, they realize the correct biblical answer is yes, they would. Only crazy people would give that answer without a religious motivation, which calls religious motivation into question.
Look, I too have asked the question not about Abraham but about other instances of genocide in the Bible. People do want to give what they feel is the “Biblical correct” answer to the question. However, it’s more than a bit of a false dichotomy. First of all, many Christians view these stories as allegory rather than literal truths. They don’t buy that the “Biblical correct” answer is that they must kill people. Even those who rationally try to justify it as a literal truth are clearly uncomfortable with the factual reality.
I believe that biologically most of us have a genetic predisposition toward compassion. That’s obviously not an absolute truth, but it does make the person who would commit genocide or kill their child a distinct minority aberration.
How is it an “extreme reduction to the absurd” to take something your god commanded someone to do and ask a group of people what they would do if asked such?
First off, there’s no reducing going on. You can go look in your bible and see where your god supposedly told Abraham to kill Issac.
Second off, the last thing you are is a “secular and very non-theistic” person. Not unless you’re someone else who just bugged and posted under this name.
Besides, nobody wants you here anyway. We’d be happy if you left. There’s a reason you’re known around here as “the lying sack of shit.” So leave already.
I am so glad you are a mind reader Houdini. Want to tell me more about what I think? I”m so glad you don’t want me here. I wouldn’t want to be welcomed by such a small minded and illogically assuming asshole as yourself.
Coming from you, being called that is a compliment.
And no, I’m not claiming to read your mind. I don’t have to. I’ve been subjected to months of your posting here. I don’t need to read your mind when I can just read what you openly say in a public forum.
Also, I notice that you didn’t bother to actually answer my point. Then again, you do that fairly often.
OK, I’ll play along…
1st question and second paragraph: First it assumes facts that you have no basis to support. “Your God?” Now to address the reduction to the absurd. The Bible talks not just about Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his child, but also about God commanding Saul and others to commit genocide on his behalf. To take these texts and to argue even that people that believe them to literally be true would commit these acts is classic reducto ad absurdum. Even assuming you could cite some anecdotal instances (like Tarte) you have no real empirical evidence that what you’re claiming is true in fact.
Third paragraph: Your claiming that you know who I am and then you try to make the false assumption that I’m using a doubly assumed identity. That’s so fucking stupid as to not ever really justify a response.
Fourth paragraph: Are you seriously that threatened by people that argue against your obviously cherished beliefs that you feel the need to censor and ban them? Who is acting more like the theist? Me or you?
It’s not just the Bible fundamentalists who’d kill loved ones for God. I know Catholics who view the Abraham son sacrificing story as a moral guideline for how to live. It’s all about obedience to God. If you are willing to sacrifice your own flesh and blood because God wants you to, then that makes you a very faithful person. Add in the New Testament, with its passages that quote Jesus as wanting believers to kill loved ones for God, and you can see how even so-called moderate Christians could become murdererous hit men for God..
Yes and atheist can become hit men for charismatic leaders. Heck , even if they don’t kill people they’ll equate them with rapists. Neither the argument I just made nor yours is a particularly compelling one. They are absurd generalizations about a whole class of people by finding individuals that might share something in common with the class. This is a restate of the argument I made when I posted my comment but apparently a lot of folks don’t get it.
Do Christians not obey God’s commands? How is this an absurd generalization when it is at the very heart of their religion? My argument against Christianity is that it skews one’s sense of right and wrong, like with its message of blind obedience to God above our own sense of duty to protect one’s child. Here in America, we are a nation that condemns raping and murdering as immoral acts. But yet this same nation also holds the Bible, filled with stories of a god who is tolerant of the very same immoral acts, as being somehow a righteous and good book. For a religion like this to have such a hold on masses of people, it’s a concern – at least for me.
Sorry Raptor, wrong guy. This wasn’t me.
So, it’s you that has stirred up the blithering idiots? Damn, now I guess I’m going to have to change my online handle.
I think you should take notes that I’m actually one of “them” and you can see how me trying to convince them of anything other then what they already have in their heads is an exercise in pointless frustration. You clearly are not going to change any hearts and minds. You probably can and no doubt have turned them into foaming at the mouth morons, but what does that really prove?
Yes I have stirred them up fairly often and you are right, nobody changes their closed minds. It is then when I am told to leave.
This isn’t some bizarro aberration in theology. It’s a position with a well respected philosophical history in Christianity. It’s held by at least every group descended from Reformed Theology (the various Dutch Churches, Presbytarianism, etc.)
Fair enough. Tarte’s argument is still not very compelling. Disturbed individuals are going to do disturbing things regardless of their theology or lack thereof. Everyone, atheists included, are subject to doing acts in obedience to authority. This is no different than the fear mongering and absurd arguments made by theists. It’s like the atheist equivalent of “look at all the atrocities committed by atheists.”
Yes, atheists follow government laws just like Christians do (perhaps more so, when you look at all the Christians stuck in prison). But are atheists willing to kill good people for the sake of God? Absolutely not. Christians are the ones willing to compromise their own moral code to please an invisible deity. If you ask me, that’s a big scary difference in moral standards. If you were truly a non-religious person, you’d feel concerned as well.
I am wholly non-religious and I’m not concerned at all. Why? Because the vast majority of humanity have things like compassion and empathy as part of their fundamental biology. Yes, there are aberrations, but those aren’t limited to theists. Atheist will and have killed people over cherished beliefs. They just can’t use God to help rationalize it away.
” Everyone, atheists included, are subject to doing acts in obedience to authority”
sure, but is it reasonable? that’s what I think this criticism of obedience aims for. it’s not about who is susceptible, but pointing out that something unreasonable is in some people’s beliefs.
to me it looks rather built in to the whole “worship” thing but not into the whole “non-worship” thing.
It’s scary that I know people like that young man in the video who wouldn’t want to kill the good, respectable people in their lives, but ultimately would if God ordered it. This is what saddens me about Christianity most – that it places more value on obedience to an invisible deity than to actual people. How in the world do secular humanists get a bad rap while Christians get praised as morally superior?
It makes me really nervous that the Mormon guy is smiling the whole time…
The story of Abraham and Isaac should not have been a test of the father’s duty, but rather his conscience – and if the Bible is true, God wants/commands things that so many of us simply can’t wrap our heads around, even thousands of years later, and Abraham certainly never had a conscience.
There’s a quote I like, attributed to Marcus Aurelius:
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”
A deity who commands killing of one’s own son, or ethnic cleansing, or other such evil, is an unjust god not worthy of worship.
Simple answer to that —-NO! Then add—bugger off !
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