Can You Be Moral Without God?

The video below, part of The Atheist Voice series, answers the question: Can you be moral without God?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the project — more videos will be posted soon — and we’d also appreciate your suggestions as to which questions we ought to tackle next!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Kevin Childs

    Our moral sense comes from being made in the image of God. I believe that is why there is this strangely universal moral agreement across cultures. And the cultures that value things like cannibalism or pedophilia are viewed as anomalies.
    The Bible isn’t the singular source of morality. You’re right about that. But it does clarify what is moral.
    Additionally, while there was a lot of truth in what you said, you did not identify any source for moral obligation. It isn’t enough to describe what IS good; we have to know why we OUGHT to do the good. I don’t believe atheism can provide that.
    So far, the more some atheists seek to do so, the more “morality” seems to be defined as just adaptive advantage. Or utilitarianism.

    • meekinheritance

      Our moral sense comes from our evolutionary imperative to propagate the species. That is why there is a very understandable moral agreement across cultures.
      The bible is a hodge-podge collection of moral and immoral tales, and does little to clarify what actually is moral, especially when you consider the actions of God and the characters in the stories in contrast with their words.
      Atheism doesn’t look to provide an explanation for good or evil. There is nothing negative about adaptive advantage or utilitarianism.

      • Spuddie

        And a basic desire to interact with other people.

        Morality is about the weighing of one’s needs with how it impacts others. We want to engage in contact with other people without fear or apprehension. We understand others want the same from us.

    • Eli

      I’m curious what’s wrong with saying it’s an adaptation? Morality certainly serves us well in creating societies, and having functioning societies seems like a good reason for why we “ought” to do good too. Why can’t humans have simply figured out over our existence what works, and defined that as good, and what doesn’t and defined that as bad? Similar morality across cultures then would have developed because we all have similar brains and therefore similar ways of understanding and interpreting the world. Of course, we’re not exactly the same, so things like cannibalism then wouldn’t be inexplicable “anomalies” to some universal “code”, but simply things that seemed like a good idea to a particular culture at a particular time, based on their particular circumstances. It doesn’t mean the WERE a good idea, but given human capacity to figure things out, they seemed to be.

      Here’s an analogy: a friend commented that a house she saw in a picture from Africa looked like some old-style Chinese houses – square, with rooms coming off of a central open courtyard. My other friend who was showing the picture said this was a fairly common house shape in many parts of the world. Does that mean architecture must have some supernatural, universal, non-human origin? No, humans just all have similar housing needs, so of course some similar structures are going to be developed. Like architecture, morality is a concept, a set of ideas that serve a purpose, and I like to think one of our defining traits as humans in that we think and come up with complex ideas. So of course we are going to see similarities across cultures.

      Otherwise, if morality must come from a god, what’s to say those universal moral codes didn’t come from Krishna, and Christians just incorporated his truths?

    • WoodyTanaka

      “Our moral sense comes from being made in the image of God.”

      [citation needed.] LMAO. Then I guess your god had a bad back and thinning hair. Oh, and he should stop eating so much fried food. He could do with losing a few pounds.

      “I believe that is why there is this strangely universal moral agreement across cultures.”

      Nope. That’s simply the result of all those cultures being made up of human beings. The universal moral agreement is simply the result of evolution. They’re all recent descendants of the same stock and this morality is nothing more than the social organization among this group of African Great Apes which conferred a survival advantage. Nothing more.

      “The Bible isn’t the singular source of morality. You’re right about that. But it does clarify what is moral.”

      No, it doesn’t. In fact, beyond being contradictory, it condemns this that can be benign, (like worshiping other gods but YHWH), it is contradictory and internally inconsistent (cf., for example, the bible); and it condones things which are immoral, (such as slavery and misogyny.) For purposes of morality its pretty crappy, in fact.

      “It isn’t enough to describe what IS good; we have to know why we OUGHT to do the good.”

      Oh, not this tedious is/ought crap again… How many times do you people have to be told that your argument is based on a false premise. We, as humans, do not have complete free will (in the way you mean and in the way necessary for this argument to have any validity), so, as a consequence, we don’t choose our morality as would be necessary for the question of why we ought to do the good to have any meaning.

      “So far, the more some atheists seek to do so, the more “morality” seems to be defined as just adaptive advantage. Or utilitarianism.”

      You say these as if these weren’t enough. They are. You subscribe to a fantasy version of reality. They may not be enough in that fantasy world, but they are more than sufficient in the real one.

      • Rain

        LMAO. Then I guess your god had a bad back and thinning hair. Oh, and he should stop eating so much fried food. He could do with using a few pounds.

        Just to preempt Kevin Childs’ objection that, oh noes, oh silly you, obviously it’s not that kinda image the Bibble was talking about: Oh yesses, the Bible was talking about that kind of an image. God has hair, and doesn’t have hair, and simultaneously looks like all people at the same time, and eats french fries too. Hey I can make bald assertions too.

        • Tainda

          Now I want french fries

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            You too? I’ve been trying to cook more, and cook healthier (more veggies, less meat), but damn fries are good.

    • Mogg

      “Additionally, while there was a lot of truth in what you said, you did
      not identify any source for moral obligation. It isn’t enough to
      describe what IS good; we have to know why we OUGHT to do the good. I
      don’t believe atheism can provide that.”

      Why should there be an ought? You might have to prove this before demanding anyone satisfy it.

      “So far, the more some atheists seek to do so, the more “morality” seems to be defined as just adaptive advantage. Or utilitarianism.”

      Yes. And?

    • Carmelita Spats

      The Bible is “moral”? Here is how genocidal, crazy-ass, psycho Yahweh treats people with disabilities including men with crushed testicles…Yahweh is obsessed with damaged testicles as he mentions them TWICE in his maniacal rants…Disabilities are referred to as “DEFECTS” and “defective people” are not allowed to approach his fetid sanctuary (I bet it smelled of sacrificial animal blood, priest sweat, feces, etc)…Yahweh-the-Yahoo would have serious problems avoiding lawsuits with ableist language like this…Yahweh is a misogynistic, racist, homophobic, lying, child abusing, authoritative brute and a utilitarian in the worst way…His brat was no better…Jesus upheld the Mosaic law…

      1. Deuteronomy 23:1…”No one who has been emasculated by crushing or cutting may enter the assembly of the Lord.”

      2. Leviticus 21:17-23…The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the Lord. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary.’”

      • Kevin Childs

        But to judge God is to require some fixed objective source of moral truth by which He IS judged. And we’re back where we started.

        • WoodyTanaka

          No, it doesn’t. That is merely your funky ideas about morality coming to the forefront, yet again.

        • Machintelligence

          Why do we need a fixed objective source of moral truth? The Euthyphro debate has been going on for almost 2500 years. I can state without fear of contradiction that, based on the Bible, my morals are superior to God’s.

          • WoodyTanaka

            I would go even further and say that whether we “need” a fixed, objective morality, none exists anyway so our desires are irrelevant.

        • Spuddie

          How about understanding of the human condition?

          Empathy?

          The notion of personal responsibility for one’s actions?

          The notion that one’s actions impact others?

          Unlike theistic notions of morality, they are neither arbitrary, irrational nor inconsistent. You don’t need God to know that your actions may help or harm others.

          If anything God has provided great excuses for people to act immorally. Since it is inherently arbitrary in nature, it doesn’t have to be rational and can be manipulated to serve given ends.

        • Guest

          No one is judging any gawd. Only the middle eastern “wise men”, sooth sayers and tribal leaders are being judged because they are the scientifically ignorant ones that invented gawd and wrote the Bible. There is no gawd. Grow up and educate yourself.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          No, I judge gods by my own personal moral standards, which start at empathy.

          I know what it’s like to be hurt or I can imagine it. It sucks. I don’t like it. Thus, through empathy, I can figure out that you don’t like it either. Extrapolate that further, and we can gather that no one likes it. So we make rules and laws to try to prevent people from getting hurt. I also know that I don’t like people controlling what I do, so part of my morality is also based heavily on respect for bodily autonomy, building off empathy. Those two principles then inform my other moral, ethical, and policy choices.

          Empathy has a well-known evolutionary component- species with members that can work together and possibly even sacrifice for one another do better at surviving than purely individualist species. It’s a rather useful evolutionary trait.

          At no point was any supernatural anything involved. Based on my own personal ethics, I can say that I am more moral than the Biblical God- I don’t condone slavery, rape, genocide, arbitrary death penalties, blind loyalty or worship, or eternal torture (torture at all, really). Anyone or anybeing who does support and/or condone those things is less moral than I.

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            The proof of this is that this is how we, even the religious, teach morality to children. When your child hits another child you explain that was wrong because they wouldn’t like it if that child had hit them. It’s rather simple and easily understood.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Indeed.

        • indorri

          I was attempting to indicate above why discovering ethical and moral truths does not rely on reified morality, so address that first before making that claim.

      • Blacksheep

        Carmelita, when I look at the whole Bible, not just the OT, I see that Jesus almost specifically reached out with love, acceptance, and healing to almost every group mentioned in the passge you quoted – the lame, sick, deformed, crippled, etc. Funny, comparing this passge to Jesus ministry would make a good semon. And since Christioans see Jesus as God in the flesh, it’s the same God doing the healing.

        • Blacksheep

          (fast typing – sorry).

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Yep, Jesus learned a lot from the Eastern philosophies that had made their way that far west by that point and that had long since developed those ideas.

          Telling us that God eventually stopped being an unimaginably callous and cruel lunatic does not make him a more credible moral figure. That argument is saying that God got better because he found religion, which makes him actually on of those “psychopaths on a leash” that we usually talk about jokingly.

          • Blacksheep

            I know a fair deal about Eastern Philosophies – and have spent blocks of time in India. One thing that has always struck me is the lack of empathy for others, lack of willingness to help the poor. That’s changing, for sure, but not because of eastern philosophy or religion. It seemed to me that a belief is castes and reincarnation fuel the idea that we are all in the station that we deserve – and it’s up to us to rise above it. (self liberation, through meditation, etc). Add to that the concept that there is really no reality – that it’s only when we “identify” with pain that we suffer, and you wind up with (in my opinion) a removed, head-in-the-sand form of bliss that doesn’t value humanity and social justice.

            Your second point is not a response to mine, it’s a larger commentary on the nature of God. I’m pointing out that the nature of God can only be glimpsed by looking at the whole picture. You are saying that the Bible passage that bans cripples from a holy place is “Unimaginably cruel and callous”, but what if the passage exists to illustrate the perfection of God? Christians look at the whole story – a God that is perfect and demands perfection to be in his presence who also created a pathway to that perfection through Christ.

            • WoodyTanaka

              “One thing that has always struck me is the lack of empathy for others, lack of willingness to help the poor”

              That describes American Republicans to a “T,” and they’re overwhelmingly Christian. How does your Western psyche process that?

              “but what if the passage exists to illustrate the perfection of God?”

              How does that explain, let alone justify, bigotry against the handicapped? Is your god so shallow that he judges people based on this? Why would you choose to worship such a thing?

    • Theory_of_I

      >>”Our moral sense comes from being made in the image of God”

      Hominids have evolved as herd animals, wherein mutually beneficial behavior improves the odds of survival. Conversely, the herd is less likely to survive if the behavior of individuals is significantly detrimental to or destructive of the herd as a whole. This can be described as an evolved intuitive sense of basic moral behavioral constraint.

      Humans and their genetically evolved basic moral sense preceded any formalized god meme by many thousands of years. So your interpretation of god mandated morality is ass-backwards. The concept of humans as images of and subservient to a god is a contrivance predictably imagined by humans, and more specifically by those who, already intuitively possessing a moral sense, either altruistically saw the need, or for other reasons desired, to invent the authority of an irrefutable power in order to exert control over others.

      • 3lemenope

        Or they were given to a distant ancestor on a few stone tablets by a divine whirlwind.

        Teach the controversy!

      • Kevin Childs

        A couple of problems: Morality cannot be reduced to merely survival of a herd. If our current herd determines that a lottery system to eliminate the above-mentioned disabled members will increase its survival chances, is such a decision therefore “moral?” Morality, if true, has to stand above pragmatism, and not merely serve it.
        Secondly, you seem to have no trouble lauding the effective evolution of herd survival instinct, but then scoff at the evolution of a theistic idea. Why is the first sensible, and the second some kind of aberration?
        You seem to be projecting your naturalism upon the explanation. You are making claims instead of providing evidence for them. I thought that’s what my side was supposedly always guilty of.

        • WoodyTanaka

          “Morality cannot be reduced to merely survival of a herd.”

          It’s not. It is something that arises in individuals because it gives a survival advantage to those individuals in the societies in which they live. (Theory of I is wrong to say that humans are herd animals. We are not. But ToI is quite right to note that morality is merely the evolved sense, because of its reproductive advantage.)

          “If our current herd determines that a lottery system to eliminate the above-mentioned disabled members will increase its survival chances, is such a decision therefore ‘moral?’”

          You might be wise to spend some time in reading and understanding the statement to which you attempt to respond. Nowhere in ToI’s statement does he/she state that this was a matter of “the herd’s” choice. We are talking about innate behavior here, not choices.

          “Morality, if true, has to stand above pragmatism, and not merely serve it.”

          No, it doesn’t. What you are doing here is assuming your conclusion in your premise. Your religious beliefs require you to define morality in this way. It is not a premise nor an axiom, and certainly not a self-evident one.

          “You seem to be projecting your naturalism upon the explanation.”

          Not really. Naturalism is merely an axiom, and one which is the only reasonable one to make.

        • Machintelligence

          Sadly, God was created in the image of man back when men weren’t very bright (see Flynn effect) or knowledgeable.

        • Theory_of_I

          >>”If our current herd determines that a lottery system to eliminate the above-mentioned disabled members will increase its survival chances, is such a decision therefore “moral?” == strawman and equivocation fallacies.

          Secular law provides for remediation in (largely) just and measured proportion.
          It (secular law) is produced and exercised in response to the multiple nuances that represent sub-sets of basic evolved moral behavioral constraint.

          >>”…you seem to have no trouble lauding the effective evolution of herd survival instinct, but then scoff at the evolution of a theistic idea. Why is the first sensible, and the second some kind of aberration?”

          1. It’s called evidence…science methodology demands it and evolution science provides it.

          Theistic ideas…no evidence and none required.

          2. Reliability and voracity…Science tests and re-tests current and previous discoveries for validity, consistently throwing out those that fail.

          Theistic ideas…no testing because testing is proscribed by the very concept itself.

        • C Peterson

          If our current herd determines that a lottery system to eliminate the above-mentioned disabled members will increase its survival chances, is such a decision therefore “moral?”

          I would say yes. It may rub against your personal morality, or current cultural norms, but the only objective way to look at something like this is from the viewpoint of the particular “herd”.

          Slavery was moral in ancient Rome. Sending old people and the wives of dead warriors to die in the wilderness was moral for nomadic American Indians. Exposing baby girls to the elements, to die, was moral for the Greeks. These things were culturally accepted norms, and were part of the success of the societies involved. To judge those societies by today’s standards is irrational.

          • Kevin Childs

            A. I respect your honesty.
            B. “To judge those societies by today’s standards is irrational.” If only some of your atheist peers tried applying that to OT warring.

            • WoodyTanaka

              “B. ‘To judge those societies by today’s standards is irrational.’ If
              only some of your atheist peers tried applying that to OT warring.”

              Nonsense. You’re the one who is insisting on an objective absolute morality. IF that is the case, then there is no difference in standards across time (or else the morality would be either subjective or non-absolute). So if you don’t like the OT barbarians being judged by our current morality, then you need to rethink the whole idea of objective, unchanging morality.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              If you don’t want the Bible’s contents shredded, don’t wave it around and implicitly dare people to take it apart. It’s a legitimate target because YOU, all of you, made it so. Deal.

          • indorri

            I’m not convinced that judging them by today’s standards is irrational. I understand why those ethics were part and parcel of those societies. I don’t see how that stops me from determining those ethics to be immoral.

            • C Peterson

              It doesn’t, if you believe there are some kind of natural morals. I don’t believe that, so I have no way of judging individual morality except against the standards of a society.

              I can look at different ethical codes, and rationally make a case why one might be better than another, based on the success of the society. But I’d consider any individual to be “good” if he follows his society’s ethical standards, regardless of how abhorrent they might seem to us. I consider that a bias I have to look past, not a factor to take into consideration.

              • indorri

                I’m of a different opinion, because I don’t think “morality and ethics aren’t a class” means “you can’t define morality and ethics objectively”. If you can define it, and there are objective ways of determining whether actions satisfy that definition, then morality and ethics are objective. If someone disagrees with my definition, that’s irrelevant to me, because I’m not interested in the word, merely what it represents. Similarly, whether a person’s goals line up with that definition is irrelevant. Hence why the fact that different cultures determine morality and ethics is, while critical knowledge and required to usefully speak about morality and ethics, not a blocking factor; the real blocking factor is the limits of are ability to determine whether certain actions satisfy moral and ethical requirements and constraints.

                I don’t think this is fundamentally different from your view: you stated yourself that you can rationally determine how some systems might be better than others. The difference seems to be language: the determining action, to me, is exactly the same action is determining whether something is moral or ethical.

                That being said, I understand why it’s troublesome using words like morality in ethics and such a way, in that it does get caught up on egoistic determinations of morality in which populations determine what is moral merely be tradition and indoctrination. I’d argue that they ultimately appeal to consequence as well, so that’s not really a killer, but I do see the problems.

                • C Peterson

                  To me, better or worse ethical codes carry no implication of moral rightness or wrongness, simply of how effectively the society operates. Thus, I don’t consider things like slavery or infanticide to be intrinsically immoral, as both have been ethical behavior in highly successful societies. I’m not sure from what you said that this is at all close to your own views.

                • indorri

                  Ah, I do think there’s a difference. I noticed it when you mentioned that highly successful societies (i.e societies which had longevity and that spread) had ethics justifying slavery etc, which is different from my evaluation (or to be more precise, is only a part of my evaluation.)

    • phantomreader42

      So, Kevin, what you’re saying is that the only reason you are not currently raping, killing, and eating every person you see is that you’re afraid the invisible man in the sky will punish you if you indulge in the orgy of blood you so crave without permission. You don’t have any morality, all you have is fear of your own delusions.

      • Kevin Childs

        Yep, you got me. Busted. I’m exactly that, and only theism holds me back. I suppose also that you are that, and only evolutionarily pragmatic survival instincts restrain you. Let’s just hope we don’t meet (& eat) on a day when I’ve lost faith in God. Or you in Darwin.

        • Spuddie

          At least we have an honest psychopath on a leash this time!

        • Eli

          Evolution isn’t faith in Darwin; it’s the idea, not the person who came up with it, that’s relevant. Also, saying morality is innate, is instinctual, means it exists no matter what we believe; people just attributed it to different things. And if you look at the world and see that that is true (and you seem to have done that since you point out similar moral ideas across cultures), then it should be clear that morality doesn’t depend on believing anything in particular. That’s what people are trying to say when they ask if you would stop being moral if you stopped believing in God…to say it comes from God requires an awareness and acceptance of God. To say it’s innate doesn’t require any awareness of the source, so not accepting evolution doesn’t make it go away the way not accepting God would.

          Personally, I wouldn’t have asked you that question since you seem to be of the opinion that an awareness of God isn’t required, since not all cultures in the world are Christian, yet you acknowledge they have morals, but that just raises an bunch of other implications, such as that all the other non-Christian must have tapped in to your God’s moral code and not that Christians unknowingly tapped into some other God’s universal moral code, or that if explicit knowledge of one religion isn’t necessary, than why view that believing any particular religion is necessary at all.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          No one has faith in Darwin. Evolution is simply a fact. It’s a process in biology that Darwin explained. Others were working on explaining it at the same time. If he hadn’t published it, someone else would have. It’s not prophecy. He proposed scientific theories which have been proven over and over again. In fact the study of genetics proved his work better than anything else which is interesting since Darwin lived before we could study DNA. I have no faith in any of it. I was presented with evidence and accept it as the best explanation of biological diversity (and commonality) on our planet. If you have a better explanation, then please present it to the scientific community. I don’t “believe” in evolution. I don’t have to. I accept it as the best current explanation. if you have evidence to the contrary, please present it. Otherwise don’t accuse ME of having faith in Darwin. I don’t. I asked for evidence and it was provided. If only religions could offer similar proof. But they don’t, because they can’t. That’s why they need faith. Please don’t equate belief without proof with accepting valid science. It’s arrogant and insulting.

          • Kevin Childs

            Well, at least you can take a joke. Peace.

          • DavidMHart

            If he hadn’t published it, someone else would have.

            And indeed, he only published when he did because he got word that someone else was about to get there first. Sneaky old Darwin :-)

        • phantomreader42

          Kevin, unlike you, I have a thing called “empathy”. i know you can’t comprehend that concept, since you’re a sociopath, but not everyone is a morally bankrupt piece of shit like you.

    • C Peterson

      If the bible clarified morality, followers of bible-based religions would share a common morality. They do not- not even close. Indeed, the moral codes shared by secular humanists, without any input from the bible, are far more uniform than those shared by members of Abrahamic religions, even by those within Christianity.. The complete lack of clarity the bible offers on moral issues is precisely why there is so much moral confusion amongst Christians!

      The problem is that there are no absolute morals. Why do you think cannibalism or pedophilia are immoral? There is very little about either of these in the bible, and they have been considered perfectly acceptable in other cultures- cultures that educated people don’t consider anomalies. No, you consider these immoral because you live in a society that believes this. You consider slavery immoral because your society has made that determination. In another time or place, slavery might be considered moral, and you’d probably believe the same. Only a tiny number of fairly intrinsic morals are found in humans, and those are pretty obviously explained in terms of what is required for a social species to survive. Everything else is cultural, and changes with culture.

      Much of the moral code dictated by the bible is massively out of sync with modern culture, which is why followers of bible-based religions have to jump through so many logical and linguistic hoops in trying to merge the moral code of modern society with the words of the bible. It is helpful that the bible itself is so ambiguous- slavery is and isn’t wrong, killing is and isn’t wrong, rape is and isn’t wrong, war is and isn’t wrong, pillage is and isn’t wrong, homosexuality is and isn’t wrong, and thousands of other conflicting cases. Clarity? That’s laughable! If you want clarity, throw out the bible and look inward, and look to your culture. Use your ability to reason. Most people will come to similar conclusions.

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Yet oddly, while “clarifying what is moral”, it doesn’t condemn slavery, incest, genocide or child rape, all of which occur in the text with approval.

      • Kevin Childs

        First, cite references for where the Bible condones each of those.
        Next, provide the fixed objective moral basis on which you judge those things “immoral.”

        • phantomreader42

          So, Kevin, you can’t imagine what could possibly be wrong with slavery, or raping children, or slaughtering entire civilizations unless your magic book tells you it’s wrong? Just like I pointed out before, Kevin, you have no morality. You’re a sociopath on a flimsy leash, restrained from going on a killing spree and gleefully bathing in the blood of the infiels only until the voices in your head (on your cult leader’s head) tell you it’s okay.
          If you want your cult’s book of shitty myths to be taken seriously as a source of morality, quit making it obvious that it’s nothing more than a way for death cultists without a shred of conscience or empathy to pretend they’re morally superior to the people you want to rape, murder, and torture.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Seriously, I thought you were just poking at him with the leash thing before, but now he seems to be agreeing with you. Though he could still cop to incompetence or dishonesty instead.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          First, read your Bible. Or hell, use that bizarre, dusty, box marked with a “G” in white-on-blue that’s probably on your browser.

          Next, Bzzzt! I’m sorry, you’re aiming your twisted relativism arguments at the wrong person. Those are OTHER commenters. So either you can’t keep them straight even when presented with a one-sentence response, or you are claiming that YOU YOURSELF do not see those things as immoral.

          Feel free to pick, Kevin: Are you not able to keep your arguments straight, or are you a supporter of child rape and slavery? Your own defenses make it one or the other*, bucko.

          *Actually, that’s not completely true. You could also as a third option admit to be shifting your arguments as convenient to the moment, and thus that you’re just lying. I’m sure Jesus would approve.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Slavery: a whole lot of quotes here http://www.evilbible.com/Slavery.htm

          Incest: Well, if Adam and Eve were the first two people, there had to be some incest going on to get wives for those sons. Also Lot and his daughters.

          Genocide: “God kills 70,000 innocent people because David ordered a census of the people (1 Chronicles 21). God also orders the destruction of 60 cities so that the Israelites can live there. He orders the killing of all the men, women, and children of each city, and the looting of all of value (Deuteronomy 3). He orders another attack and the killing of “all the living creatures of the city: men and women, young, and old, as well as oxen sheep, and asses” (Joshua 6). In Judges 21, He orders the murder of all the people of Jabesh-gilead, except for the virgin girls who were taken to be forcibly raped and married. When they wanted more virgins, God told them to hide alongside the road and when they saw a girl they liked, kidnap her and forcibly rape her and make her your wife! Just about every other page in the Old Testament has God killing somebody! In 2 Kings 10:18-27, God orders the murder of all the worshipers of a different god in their very own church! In total God kills 371,186 people directly and orders another 1,862,265 people murdered.” -Evilbible.com home page

          Rape of women and children: http://www.evilbible.com/Rape.htm

          If this book is the source of your morality, you’re fucked up.

        • indorri

          Does morality as a class exhibit beneficial effects for its practitioners?

          Conversely, can metaphysical morality demand something of its practitioners that does only harm to them with no benefit?

  • WoodyTanaka

    I think the real question is: Can one be moral WITH a god. After all, being moral is simply doing the right thing and not doing the wrong. The theist who simply does what he believes his god or gods want is not acting morally, because their behavior is not referencing good or evil, but the arbitrary whim of the god. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard, in response to objections about a particular theists’ morality, that it doesn’t have to make sense if it’s in the bible. That’s puppetry, not morality.

    • C Peterson

      I think the real question is: Can one be moral WITH a god.

      That was the first question that came to my mind when I read the topic title. But of course, it’s a poor question, because empirically we know it is true. There are moral believers.

      A better question, which is much more interesting to explore, is HOW can one be moral with a god? (This assumes a god that dictates moral principles, of course. Most, but not all gods do that.) The question can be extended to any non-theistic or non-religious system that rigidly dictates an absolute moral code, enforced under the threat of temporal or eternal punishment. Under such conditions, which will always generate severe conflicts with personal moral codes, how can anybody remain substantially moral?

      • Spuddie

        “There are moral believers.”

        But does their morality come from belief or is it just the nature of the person themselves?

        Too many people try to attribute morality to God and miss the whole concept of what morality actually is. Morality is not acting in self-interest. If you act out of fear of punishment or reward, you are not acting moral. People who denounce atheists as lacking morality don’t know what they are talking about. If your sole reason for not acting in a destructive selfish way is fear of God, you are not moral. You are merely on a leash. Like a sex offender with a restraining order.

        Morality is a personal notion. One based on empathy and understanding of the human condition. When one is able to consider how their acts affect others, they are making moral choices. God doesn’t factor into it.

        • C Peterson

          But does their morality come from belief or is it just the nature of the person themselves?

          Certainly, this is the kind of question that follows from my original question.

          My own view is that most people are intrinsically moral. The bible is clearly full of behavior and belief requirements that are not seen as moral in today’s world. So followers of bible-based religions, for the most part, seek interpretations that mesh with their internal moral code, rather than changing their own code to match ethically suspect biblical requirements. Unfortunately, the system isn’t perfect, and people still end up adopting unethical moral standards in conflict with what they would otherwise believe. One problem is that religious people are generally sheep- they have been raised in a tradition that doesn’t encourage honest reflection on biblical meaning, but rather, depends on trust in biblical “authorities”. In that environment, it is easy to see how people end up following unethical precepts. And it explains the deepness of moral confusion we see among Christians, but not among humanists.

      • WoodyTanaka

        “But of course, it’s a poor question, because empirically we know it is true. There are moral believers.”

        Well, in fairness to myself, it was a rhetorical point.

        • C Peterson

          Understood. I was merely expanding on the idea. Everything you said past the initial rhetorical question is absolutely true.

    • indorri

      Yes, because it’s possible to have a worldview in which gods exist but do not determine what is moral.

      I don’t know how widespread that view is outside Christianity and Islam and I doubt it exists in anything but a perilously small number inside those religions, but there you have it.

  • rwlawoffice

    Hemant, you stated that you would not want to live in a society that kills people. If that is so, how can you argue for the right to abortion? You are against the death penalty but you advocate for the right of the innocent to be killed by choice. It is not enough to argue that the unborn is not a person yet, this is just a line drawn to justify the killing. If you say that there is a debate about this issue where people can choose to disagree and that the law should allow for that disagreement, then you are opting for a society that allows for the killing of the innocent. That is a society that I choose not to live in and that is why I fight against it.

    Your explanation is a definition of moral relativism. Of course atheists can act moral but you argue that morality is subjective and individual. That does not answer the ultimate question of the objective morality that we all know exists. It is not enough to say that atheists can act moral, the real question is how do they know it is moral without objective moral standards from which to judge their actions.

    • phantomreader42

      Embryos are not people. Fetuses are not people. WOMEN ARE PEOPLE, no matter how hard your sick death cult fights to deny it. Pregnancy is a life-threatening medical condition, that you want to force women to suffer against their will. Abortion is not murder, it is self-defense. You and your fellow fetus-fetishists are the ones murdering women as sacrifices to the foul monstrosity you call “God”.

      • rwlawoffice

        Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better about your support for the right to kill the unborn. I am curious, when do you think a person becomes a person? Is it at birth? Is it at self awareness? Why draw the line where you do?

        Frankly, any line drawn after conception is arbitrary and done for reasons other than a true definition of life. I would rather live in a society that protects the innocent and most vulnerable among us, then one that comes up with reasons why they don’t need to be protected.

        • C Peterson

          Certainly, the point where we choose to consider a developing human to become a person is necessarily fuzzy. In part, that’s because there is no scientific definition of “person”. It’s an ethical definition, although it can be informed by science. For me, it is determined by a combination of self-awareness and stored experience, and therefore occurs sometime after birth. If you believe in a soul, it probably occurs at conception.

          There can be no definition for “person” that everyone will agree with. That simple fact makes it incredibly arrogant for anybody to insist that their personal definition should be legally forced upon others. The reality is that nobody’s opinion on the matter is any better or worse than anybody else’s. And that’s precisely why the most ethical approach is to respect everybody’s personal beliefs.

          If you believe a fetus is a person, you are perfectly correct in considering abortion to be immoral. But you are acting unethically if you attempt to mandate the behavior of others based on your own view of the morality of abortion. Ethically, you should seek to change the opinions of others, not force their behavior.

          • rwlawoffice

            “For me, it is determined by a combination of self-awareness and stored experience, and therefore occurs sometime after birth”

            So are you saying that it would be moral in your mind to engage in infanticide until the point that the infant has self awareness? At what point does that occur? Some alleged scholars in England have indicated this could be up to two years old.

            • C Peterson

              For me, infanticide by the parents is not morally wrong in and of itself, because I don’t believe an infant is a person yet. However, I also believe that an ethical person generally follows the broader ethical code of society, and in this case, society has made a reasonable definition that legal personhood begins around the time of viability. Although I don’t agree, I’m comfortable enough with that to accept societal ethics, and would not go against them because that would itself constitute an ethical failure.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                For me, infanticide by the parents is not morally wrong in and of itself, because I don’t believe an infant is a person yet.

                Say WHAT????

                • C Peterson

                  What I said. I don’t think a newborn has the neural connections for self awareness, or creating experiential memories. Therefore, I don’t consider it a person any more than I do a 3-month fetus. So the reason I consider infanticide immoral has nothing to do with any rights of the infant, but comes from my responsibility to observe the ethical code of my society.

              • Guest

                Did you really mean you don’t find a newborn baby that can survive outside of the womb a person? Yes, they still need someone to take care of them but you need someone to do that for many years in the begging and a lot of us also need it at the end.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Birth is a pretty bright line, wouldn’t you say? No longer attached to another person and dependent on them for all your needs, but an independent being?

          Any demarcation is arbitrary, but birth is a far better line than most. Many religions actually do put ‘ensoulment’ at first breath, not conception. Women in those cultures who had a miscarriage or stillbirth mourned the person-who-could-have-been, but not a “baby” as such, because it had never gotten a soul and thus never been a person. What you consider “life” is extremely culturally mediated.

          • C.L. Honeycutt

            Many religions actually do grant ensoulment or “life” at first breath, including RW’s. Worth noting.

        • decathelite

          If you really believe abortion is murder, supported by the state, and all you are doing about it is fulminating on blogs, and perhaps once in a while stand in front of a clinic holding a sign, you’re a coward.

          If there was a group of thugs that your neighbors could call to come to gun down their own children on a whim, and the police did nothing about it, would you be content sitting at home typing away, or would you actually do something that would stop those thugs?

          • phantomreader42

            It’s not like he actually gives a flying fuck about children, born or unborn. He’ll never so much as lift a finger to actually help anyone alive, all he cares about here is an excuse to pretend he’s morally superior to people who treat women like actual living breathing human beings. He doesn’t really see fetuses as human, except in the sense of human shields he can hide behind while promoting his sick death cult.

            • rwlawoffice

              You have no idea what I do but if it makes you feel better to throw out unfounded insults because your argument is so weak, than go for it.

              • phantomreader42

                Well, you’ve never done anything but throw out unfounded insults, so why are you objecting to having your own tactics turned against you? Oh, yeah, because you know you’re a worthless lying sack of shit, and you’re too much of a coward to take your own medicine. Fuck off, asshole, and take your monstrous imaginary friend with you.

          • Fred

            Where are all the politicians chaining themselves to doors to stop the “murders”?

            You give me one tenth of one percent of a metro population to work with and I can non violently shut down or make operating a clinic untenable for a year.

            Hippies did better than the forced Birthers.

          • rwlawoffice

            What a silly comment. Debate on an issue that is currently legal and cannot be legally stopped with calling the police or self help is the only way to try and change the status quo.I do what I legally can do to change the law.

        • DavidMHart

          Drawing the line at contraception is just as arbitrary. The fact is that the only possible non-daft criterion for granting an entity any rights at all is whether it is capable of conscious experience – that is, can it suffer? If so, then, we can provisionally agree that, all else being equal, we should avoid causing that entity to suffer.

          But before that entity has developed the capacity to suffer? We are simply not dealing with a legitimate object of moral concern. Therefore, no matter where you draw the line, the point of contraception is incontrovertibly well before that line has been reached.

          And of course, even once we have reached that line, other things are not yet equal, because the sentiescent* foetus is still hooked up to a woman’s internal organs, causing her considerable discomfort, increasing amounts of pain and significant medical risk, and normally when someone is threatening someone else’s health or even their life, then we consider it morally acceptable to take action that harms that someone in order to prevent that harm to someone else. In the case of a foetus that is only in the early stages of developing consciousness, we have no good reasons not to conclude that its capacity for suffering is less than that of a fully-aware person, and thus no good reasons to consider it an object of moral concern fully equivalent to a fully-aware person.

          Where exactly we do draw that line is an interesting question, but we can rule out the idea that the line ought to be drawn at conception on the grounds stated above.

          If, on the other hand, you are not convinced, then, rather than railing against abortion per se, your efforts would be far better spent campaigning for full access to affordable and effective contraception, and proper education in how to use it, since, in the real world, full of real humans, nothing is more effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies and thus reducing the demand for abortions.

          Maybe you are doing that already. But if not, I wonder if you are being entirely open about your true motivations.

          *Yes, I know this isn’t a real word. But until we have a word for ‘in the process of becoming sentient’, it will have to do.

    • wabney

      “That does not answer the ultimate question of the objective morality that we all know exists.”

      Citation needed. Please show me on what this statement of objective morality “we all know exists” is based.

    • Spuddie

      Actually the perfect definition of moral relativism is the religious view of morality. Morality coming from divine directive arbitrarily without notion of personal contemplation or understanding. One which is relative since it is not anchored to any notion of personal responsibility and empathy or societal impact.

      Your example of abortion is a perfect example of the amoral nature of religious morality. You forgo any notion of empathy or understanding of how something impacts the people involved in favor of grand arbitrary pronouncements. Somehow the life of the only person keeping a fetus alive is less important than the fetus she carries?

      Why? Because you think God says so. No notion of personal reflection, no understanding of how it affects others. Just blanket deference to an authority and to a canned argument without question. There is no rationality to such a view.

      Why is it when people talk about when to “draw a line” they never understand the factual differences between each side of their divide? It is always about false conflation and misrepresenting facts.

      • rwlawoffice

        The morals taught in the Bible are not simply directives from God that have no bearing on personal responsibility. They are given because they address personal actions and the effects of those actions. How is it any different in your logic from saying that the moral codes come from a divine being then saying they come from society as a whole? The idea of moral relativism is that each person decides for themselves what is moral with no objective basis behind it.

        The notion that those that are pro life do not have empathy for the mothers of the unborn is simply false and no basis for the moral stance that all life is valuable the innocent and vulnerable in a society need to be protected. That is an objective position. It is the pro abortion side of this debate that uses relativism to argue that there are times when someone else gets to decide that life is not valuable and someone else gets to decide under what circumstances it can be ended.

        • Spuddie

          The effects given are strictly in the hereafter in Biblical morality. By tying morality to a code of punishments and rewards outside of normal human experience you divorce it from rationality and make it ultimately arbitrary. Plus you take out actual moral decisions from the equation and just make it glorified self-interest.

          It is fundamentally different from tying morality to society as a whole because it at least involves interaction and understanding of people. Real moral choices being made through consideration of the situation and its impact. It is far different than a knee jerk deference to some form of authority.

          Anti-abortion people have no empathy for mothers. It is a given. It is always about minimizing their role in the decision, engaging in shaming tactics, hurling insults at them, demeaning their existence. They value a fetus more than the mother. It is an inherently irrational and arbitrary stance. “Innocent and vulnerable” does not ever seem to extend to women who lack means for some reason. They are relative and subjective terms in of themselves. It is a morally relative position.

          • rwlawoffice

            Absolutely not. The moral teachings in the Bible are not simply for there effect after death. Read Proverbs for example. They are life lessons for life here on Earth. Lessons for our own personal well being as well as the well being of society. For example, teaching against adultery is not only for the person but for society.

            Between the two, unless a woman is raped, the truly innocent life is that of the unborn. This is not say that the women may have made a innocent mistake, but there is no doubt that her and her partner engaged in conduct that they should know, even with the most careful birth control, could lead to conception. Thus, I believe that both these partners should accept responsibility for that behavior and a that the fetus, who did nothing but get conceived needs to be protected. This is not a morally relative position. It is the objective position that innocent life needs to be protected.

            • Spuddie

              Lessons to be learned under pain of punishment either in this world or the next. Leviticus is pretty clear that adultery is a capital offense as well as many other violations. Personal well being has very little to do with Christian notions of morality. Its all about the rewards of the kingdom of heaven. Especially since the admonishment to “not do what is hateful” and to “love thy neighbor” as overriding notions of behavior are largely ignored by the overwhelming majority of those in Abrahamic religions.

              As for your view of abortion, it all is about denigrating a woman as less than innocent and pure in an arbitrary and irrational manner. Nothing you have said shows a drop of empathy or understanding. Its all about passing personal judgment based on subjective relative notions. Moral relativism at its worst. All you have done is proven my point about the anti-abortion crowd lacking empathy and understanding. You engage in slut shaming, hurling insults and demeaning the women in the situation.

              Self-important lecturing about responsibility is not understanding of the human condition nor showing empathy towards others. Your “morality” is all about a preset deferrence to some form of authority without question or contemplation. There is no morality in what you speak of. Only a desire to force others into a version of conformity.

    • WoodyTanaka

      “Hemant, you stated that you would not want to live in a society that kills people. If that is so, how can you argue for the right to abortion?”

      Abortion isn’t the killing of people.

      “That does not answer the ultimate question of the objective morality that we all know exists.”

      No, we do not all know it exists. Theists assume it exists because their theology demands it.

      • rwlawoffice

        You can argue that abortion is not killing people but what then is your definition of a person? If we changed the word person to a human life would your argument change?

        Of course there is objective morality that makes something wrong regardless of what society thinks. For example, regardless of whether it is acceptable in a society or not, we should all agree that raping a young child is morally repugnant. Even if the Nazi’s won the war, it would not make right what they did in the concentration camps.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          What most people forget is that we value bodily autonomy more than we value life. They are applying different standards to women and fetuses than they do to anyone else. Under no circumstances is anyone legally or morally obligated to donate blood, tissue, or organs to another person, even if that other person will die without said donation. What a fetus does is “borrow” the woman’s uterus and literally build itself out of her blood and nutrients. If a woman decides she does not wish to donate her blood, nutrients, and organ to the fetus, she can ethically remove it from her person. The fact that the fetus dies is not a killing qua killing, but rather a removal of donations the fetus was never morally entitled to.

          Does abortion count as killing another human being? Only as much as refusing to donate a liver lobe or bone marrow counts as killing another human being. Remember that we don’t even require corpses to donate tissue, preferring to respect the once-living person’s wishes over the current needs of living (but soon dead) persons. Any philosophical position that puts women’s rights to their own bodies below corpses’ rights is, um, ethically flawed to say the least.

          So my arguments in favor of abortion rights, at least, would not change no matter how you define a person. No person has a right to what a fetus takes; it can only be freely given.

        • WoodyTanaka

          For these purposes, what the hell, I define “person” and “human life” as “members of the species H. sapiens who can not legally be subject to an abortion.” Thus, terminating a pregnancy during an abortion is not killing a “person” or ending a “human life.”

          Or you can cut out the weak-ass attempt at deductive reasoning. A fetus is just that, a fetus.

          “Of course there is objective morality that makes something wrong regardless of what society thinks.”

          Hey, two can play at that game: Of course, there’s no objective morality.

          “For example, regardless of whether it is acceptable in a society or not, we should all agree that raping a young child is morally repugnant.”

          But we don’t. There are some people out there (the pedophile rapists, for example) who don’t think it’s morally repugnant. But even if you demonstrated that there is 100% agreement on the point, all you’ve demonstrated is 100% agreement, not that objective morality exists.

          And, indeed, the fact that the only time you can even come close to the 100% number is on the edges, on the far fringes, demonstrates that you are wrong. If there was a such thing as objective morality, why can humanity not agree with most moral questions? One would think that if your proposition were true, that disagreements about morality would be the exception, not the rule.

          “Even if the Nazi’s won the war, it would not make right what they did in the concentration camps.”

          “Right” to whom? To the Nazis, killing the Jews in the concentration camps was a very moral act. And that’s nothing new. EVERY great crime in history – chattel slavery; the ethnic cleansing of the North American Continent; the destruction of the Kulaks and the Ukrainian famine by the USSR; the Japanese invasion of Asia in the 1930s; the torture of Jews and Muslims in Christian Spain circa 1500, to name just a few — all had defenders suggesting that what they were doing was highly moral and often suggesting that they were doing God’s will in the process.

          Given the fact that humans can’t even agree on something as basic as “is it okay to kill another person?” the notion of a universal, objective morality is a joke. When your “explanation” for everyone who disagrees with your proffered objective morality is to say “it exists, they just don’t follow it” and the content of this supposed objective morality JUST SO HAPPENS to be coterminous with one’s religious beliefs (as is virtually always the case), it becomes clear that the one who argues for “objective morality” is someone who simply wants to dictate to everyone else how they should think.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Aww look, Robert is repeating himself yet again, because he isn’t bright enough to grasp that people remember having effectively rebutted these same questions from him many times.

          Goldfish are so adorable when they act like that. Humans, not so much.

          • rwlawoffice

            I am required to say the same things because you and others have repeated the same tied and ineffective arguments. None of them have effectively rebutted any arguments I have made.

            • phantomreader42

              All of your pitiful excuses for arguments have been rebutted countless times. You’re just too stupid to notice and too dishonest to admit it. Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?

            • allein

              “required”? really?

    • blasphemous_kansan

      “That does not answer the ultimate question of the objective morality that we all know exists.”

      Reading your distasteful comments is like watching that “Inception” flick: every time you start sharing your dreams you can’t help but bring in your violent projections.

    • C Peterson

      If you don’t believe a fetus is a person, there is no moral issue.

      The choice to consider a fetus a person or not is purely one of personal morality and definition. It does not follow from any rational analysis. Consequently, the most ethical approach is to avoid legally mandating people’s morality (which never works) and leave the decision up to the individual.

      If you believe a fetus is a person, you act morally by keeping it, immorally by aborting it. If you believe a fetus is not a person, that decision is morally neutral (although the decision itself is likely based on other moral beliefs).

      Morality is relative. History proves this. The morality of abortion is determined by society, and currently, there is no societal consensus on that matter.

      • rwlawoffice

        Choosing not to believe a unborn fetus is a person, doesn’t make it so. I can believe its dark outside on a bright sunny day at noon, but that doesn’t make it night.

        This truth is why moral decisions on the right of innocent vulnerable persons to love or die at the whim of another should not be left to the individual.

        • allein

          You think people just go out and have abortions on a whim?

          • phantomreader42

            He doesn’t actually think. He regurgitates dogma. There is no thought process involved. If there were, he would have learned that regurgitating the same decades-old shit won’t convince anyone.

            • allein

              I know, I know…sometimes I can’t help it. ;)

        • WoodyTanaka

          “Choosing not to believe a unborn fetus is a person, doesn’t make it so.”

          You have it backwards. Choosing to believe a fetus is a person doesn’t make it so. It’s like believing an empty lot is a skyscraper.

        • phantomreader42

          Chosing to believe that an undeveloped parasite without a brain is a person, but the woman hosting said parasite is not, as you and your monstrous cult do, doesn’t make it so.

        • TCC

          Neither does choosing to believe an unborn fetus is a person make it so. That’s an asinine objection.

      • Blacksheep

        “If you don’t believe a fetus is a person, there is no moral issue.”

        …That’s correct.

        • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

          Even if you do believe a fetus is a person, there’s still no moral issue. Unless you’re in favor of forced organ donation for all people (including the men!), you can’t plausibly be in favor of forced pregnancy either. Unless, of course, it’s all about punishing the women for having sex, not about protecting the fetuses.

          • Carmelita Spats

            Absolutely!!!!! If they really wanted to “protect tiny people”, they would go the Catholic route and ban chemical contraception since “the pill kills”. Why would “pro-lifers” chance turning their uteri into a “killing field” if they believe that the fertilized egg has “personhood” and chemical contraception (pill, IUD) might affect implantation? Some Evangelicals are going down this road. The former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, Al Mohler, was livid when the personhood initiative failed in Mississippi due to linking chemical contraception to abortion. People wanted their chemical contraception. Mohler stated that “We are all Harry Blackmun now” because of the acceptance of “abortifacients”. He said, “While this would not criminalize or restrict non-abortifacient contraceptives, it would outlaw birth control that does not prevent the
            fertilization of the egg.” He’s referring to the pill and the IUD. I always make it a point to ask “pro-lifers” about their birth control practices. I’ve been told that, “it is none of my business”. Precisely. It’s fun to watch them run up against the Great Wall O’ Hypocrisy.

          • C Peterson

            I disagree. If you believe a fetus is a person, it very much becomes a moral issue, since a person has rights, and you now have to weigh the rights of one person against another. Different people may come to different conclusions, but a good case can be made either way.

            However, if everybody simply looks after their own morality, without trying to force it on others, there will never be any problem.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              Again: forced organ donation, yea or nay? That shouldn’t be a hard moral question for you. We have come down quite firmly as a society on the side of bodily autonomy outweighing life. I, for one, do NOT want to live in a society where I am forced to give up control over my very self, at significant health risk, for the sole benefit of others. Do you?

              • C Peterson

                I don’t believe the comparison to force organ donation is either accurate or useful. If I believed a fetus was a person, I would find it very difficult to morally justify an abortion unless the mother’s life was at very significant risk (which is seldom the case). But I would not extend my moral beliefs to everybody else. I recognize that two people can have very different ethical ideas without either being wrong.

                I believe your argument is extremely harmful to the entire debate, because it conflates the issue of personhood with the issue of choice.

                Those of us who are pro-choice must accept that the belief that abortion is immoral is every bit as valid as the belief that it is morally neutral. Telling somebody they are wrong for believing that a fetus has the same value as the mother is, itself, wrong, and will result in nobody’s mind being changed about the real issue, which is choice.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Why? Why is it inaccurate? I’ve turned this around quite a lot in my head, especially recently. Fetuses take over an organ. They use the mother’s blood and energy to build themselves out of her fluids and nutrients. If a born human has no inherent right to my blood, why does a fetus have an inherent right to my blood? The result of not-giving-blood is the same either way: death. Why is one considered so much more morally fraught than the other?

                  I give the fetus exactly as much moral weight as I give the mother in my argument; they are each persons. It’s not my personal view, as I don’t think fetuses are people, but I don’t tell people they are wrong to view fetuses as having the same moral weight as women because I do understand that argument even though I don’t agree with it. Where I get very angry is when people make the argument that fetuses have more moral weight than women. If they have equal weight, a woman’s right to bodily autonomy clearly outweighs any right to life a fetus might have. It is only if you argue that a pregnant woman’s inherent value decreases that you can even argue that a fetus has a right to use her body against her will.

                  If you woke up to find yourself hooked by IV to another person, having expressed admiration for them and perhaps sorrow that they were ill, you would surely have the right to unhook yourself even at the expense of the life of the other person. You never consented to donate blood and it’s bloody well immoral to steal it and tie you to another against your will. Well, abortion is just unhooking the IV.

                • C Peterson

                  A fetus doesn’t happen by accident. It is disingenuous to pretend that the relationship between a mother and fetus is the same as between a random person and somebody who happens to be histocompatible. Most people recognize that a mother has certain responsibilities towards a fetus. For instance, I think most people would consider it highly immoral for a mother to engage in behavior (e.g. drug use) that could ultimately result in a damaged baby, even if they didn’t consider the fetus to be a person, or to have no rights.

                  I would argue that your right to terminate a pregnancy exists because there is no societal consensus that a non-viable fetus is a person- an entity with any rights.

                  I believe that the view that a fetus has equal rights to its mother (I’ve not heard it suggested it has greater value) is as morally sound as the view that it has no rights. These are not fact-based viewpoints, and I would not consider telling somebody who believed abortion to be morally wrong that they are wrong. If you feel that is acceptable, you are just as dogmatic and off-base as RW. The rest of the world is not wrong if they disagree with your philosophical views.

                  Any fight over the morality of abortion itself will never end. Any comparison between the rights of a mother and her fetus will never be settled. The only fight worth pursuing is the fight for choice- a fight that does not need to rest on the issue of the intrinsic morality of abortion at all.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You’re wrong. You are straight up wrong. If you remove rights from the woman, you are saying that she is no longer a full person with full rights to control herself, her body, and the course of her life anymore. You’re saying that as soon as I get pregnant, I am not a full person anymore; I have responsibilities to the parasite in my body whether I want it there or not, whether I consented to the act that created it or not, whether its existence will cause me to be evicted, starve, or be tied to an abuser or not. You’re saying I get demoted from “person” to “walking incubator”. This is personal, C Peterson. This is my life and my body you think are worth less than a fetus that is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. If you give the fetus a right to life greater than the bodily autonomy of the women in which it resides, you are elevating the fetus above the status of any other human being. After all, according to your arguments, a fetus’s life is worth more than an infant’s life; one day after the baby is born, its mother cannot be legally compelled to give it blood. Yet the month before, she can be compelled to give it blood and body, organs and nutrients. If the result is death either way, why does the mother have a legal and moral responsibility to the fetus but not the infant?

                  Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. If it was, we’d say that consent to skiing was consent to a broken leg and refuse to treat that broken leg accordingly. After all, you chose to do the activity that led to the broken leg, so you get to ‘suffer the consequences’. That rhetoric sound familiar?

                • C Peterson

                  Well, the fact that you are willing to consider a philosophical view wrong tells me you have a definition of morality so far removed from my own that we have no common ground for discussion.

                  I see your viewpoint to be immensely harmful to the pro-choice movement, but you are as deeply immersed in irrational dogma on the matter as RW, and I don’t see any argument changing your mind (as I don’t see any recognition on your part of the actual arguments involved here).

                  As long as the best arguments people can provide are “I’m right because!”, nothing will be resolved.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I’m right because the consequences of not recognizing bodily autonomy as important are horrific to everyone. I’m right because we cannot divorce philosophy from the real-world impacts it has when its tenets are adopted as the basis of laws and norms. I’m right because this isn’t an abstract, but a real issue with real consequences that hurts and kills real people.

                  Philosophy can be factually incorrect. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Ayn Rand’s Objectivism is wrong; she is wrong in how people behave and what a truly free market society would look like. Marxism, too, is wrong, for much the same reasons. He, too, got how people work wrong, though in the opposite direction (Marx thought people are more altruistic than they are, Ayn Rand thought people are more selfish and logical than they are). Because of that, using their philosophies to power a society would end catastrophically.

                  What I’m telling you is when you say a fetus has a right to life that outweighs the woman’s right to bodily autonomy, you have to own what that means in the real world. It also means owning all the philosophical implications of that argument, including that you are giving a fetus rights no other human being has to control another person’s body. I do no harm, and great good, to the pro-choice movement with my insistence that fetuses be treated only as other persons, not metapersons with greater value than women.

                  EDIT: You also neglected to actually answer my questions. Please do so. Why does a fetus have greater rights to life than a born infant?

    • Tannert

      My answer is you were made by God and seeing as how Adam and Eve ate from a tree known as the Knowledge of Good and Evil it would make sense that we could dictate between Good and Evil pretty easily .

      • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

        Oy, you really believe the talking snake and eating fruit story? *eyes rolling*

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Yep. Right now I wish I could find a video of Wolverine raising his eyebrow and muttering in shock, “Holy shit.”

      • WoodyTanaka

        “My answer is you were made by God and seeing as how Adam and Eve ate
        from a tree known as the Knowledge of Good and Evil it would make sense
        that we could dictate between Good and Evil pretty easily .”

        But we can’t “dictate” between Good and Evil very easily at all. On questions as profound as, “it is evil to kill this or that person?” to the inconsequential as “is it evil if I rub my genitalia for a while?” to the nonsensical as “is it okay to say, ‘God damn it’ when I strike my thumb with a hammer?”, humans disagree profoundly.

        (My answers: 1) “It depends on who the person is, what he is doing, and what other options are available.” 2) No, of course not. Don’t be silly. Unless there’s issues of chafing or it interferes with something else in your life, it’s perfectly fine, healthy and recommended. 3) Yes. It’s perfectly okay because it may make you feel a little better and no one is negatively affected in anyway, as “blasphemy” — if it actually exists — is a victimless activity.)

    • C.L. Honeycutt

      Claiming that the logic-based argument you don’t like simply doesn’t matter is actually less dishonesty from you than usual, RW.

      Have you decided to be a brave warrior for Christ yet and explain why you think it would be okay for organizations that have local monopolies on services to tell black people they aren’t welcome?

      • WoodyTanaka

        “Have you decided to be a brave warrior for Christ yet and explain why
        you think it would be okay for organizations that have local monopolies
        on services to tell black people they aren’t welcome?”

        Oh, that’s just nasty. Is he one of those bigots or apologists for bigots?

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          He claims it’s okay for the Boy Scouts to exclude atheists and gays. Not that it’s legal, that it’s morally justifiable. The Boy Scouts have a monopoly on scouting. In order to make this argument, RW therefore likewise has to argue that it was morally acceptable before the Civil Rights Movement for, as an example, hospitals to be “Whites Only”.

          Perhaps he’ll eventually understand the point, but it’s incredibly unlikely given his history. He opened up on this blog with dishonest word games, where he would parse out a response until he could craft a – lemme be charitable here – a creative definition of a word or phrase and pretend that it made him right. When he got called out on it too many times for his ego to handle, he retreated for a couple of months, then came back and pretended none of it ever happened and tried to reboot. When THAT didn’t work, he shifted to sullen blog stalking and grasping for “gotchas” to go after Hemant with.

          He also shifted to “pretend ignoring” of inconvenient responses to protect said ego.

          Oh yeah, I almost forgot. He supported the “Kill The Gays” bill in Uganda and claims that the government there was “just trying to protect people from AIDS”… which is mostly spread there by Christian heterosexuals who have been told by HIS CHURCH that condoms spread the disease. His own local church sponsors an orphanage there (laudable) where children are taught these lies and this murderous malice based on lies (not so laudable), and he doesn’t see a problem with that.

          Oh, and just for fun: he accused a regular here of stalking and harassing him and threatened him with legal action because the regular knew his real name. Nevermind that if you Google “rwlawoffice” to try and locate one of his older posts, his Twitter account with his real name is at the top of the page. When told that, he claimed it wasn’t true.

          • rwlawoffice

            It is a shame that you feel the need to try and address arguments and dialogue with attempts at character attacks. You must feel the need to do so based upon the lack of substance to your arguments. I understand that it is merely the attempt to silence the Christians that engage here. I am not the only one that faces this. Anyone who disagrees with the atheist viewpoint and doesn’t tow the party line gets the same treatment.

            But, in this case you are not only showing the lack of substance, you are a liar. Where do you base the allegation that my local church tells people in Uganda that condoms spread disease? It doesn’t and never has.

            As I told the poster who felt the need to try and intimidate me by using my real name, I am not ashamed of my beliefs nor am I hiding.I never denied that he was correct, just that he was trying to shame me into leaving.

            It is obvious that those that are claiming to be tolerant and open to ideas and others beliefs really are not and only want to silence those that disagree with the party line.

            As for your oft repeated challenge to say whether I would agree that those with local monopolies can deny services to Blacks, there is nothing in my faith that calls for me to have such a stance. It is is silly and misquided attempt to bait from someone that has no real arguments of their own.

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              If businesses and organizations can exclude people because of their religious beliefs, why not exclude people because of their racist ones? Do you really, truly not see the parallel between the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the gay rights movement of today? Why is it ok to exclude some people but not others? Why is the Bible saying gays are icky acceptable, but random pastor X saying black are inferior unacceptable? Both statements are false, hurtful, and bigoted in the same ways. Neither should be supported by any reasonable person nor civilized society.

            • C.L. Honeycutt

              Bloody DISQUS…

              Your documented history of dishonesty is an important factor, whether or not you like it. Piss and moan all you want.

              YOU made that allegation, dumbass. YOU linked together your church sponsorship and the lies being told by the larger church. Bloody dimwit.

              Your attempt to dodge lying about the Twitter thing is noted, as is your attempt to pretend you didn’t claim you were being “stalked”.

              Your attempt to further lie about the necessary consequence of your anti-gay-and-atheist-children position by sneaking in a part about “your faith” that was never brought up isn’t going to fool anyone, shit-for-brains. You made the argument, and your argument requires you to say it’s okay to deny services to minorities when they can’t get those services elsewhere.

    • RobertoTheChi

      Why am I not surprised that you are talking about abortion…AGAIN. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, you’ll bring abortion into it somehow. We could be talking about the weather and you’ll jump in and blather on about abortion. Is that all you ever think and talk about?

      • phantomreader42

        He doesn’t actually think, he just regurgitates decades-old prechewed shit fed to him by his cult. He’s not actually capable of understanding and addressing anything in reality, all he can do is vomit forth the same shit he always does, without even pretending he can support it.

  • Tannert

    Christian do not say that atheist cant be moral with God. We say that morals cannot exist if a God does not exist a moral, as a concept goes away, and is reduced only to opinion, because as we know scientifically our thoughts are just chemicals reacting in our brains.

    • wabney

      You seem to be spamming the snarky comment “as we know scientifically are thoughts are just chemicals reacting in our brains” in multiple locations, so this is probably a pointless response, but the concept of morality does not just “go away” when one removes the supernatural objective morality component. It’s fairly simple to see how the concept of moral behavior sans deity is explained numerous time in just the responses in this thread.

    • WoodyTanaka

      This is one giant logical fallacy. (No surprise.) There are options other than “God gives us morality” and “It’s just opinion.” (Spoiler alert: the correct answer is not one of these two.)

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Why would I believe that god gave us morality, when you can’t even prove that your god exists?

      • Tannert

        You cannot prove that the Christian God does not exist. I will say numerous times disprove the Bible scientifically, or historically and I will shut up and say I am wrong.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          Actually there are a lot of historical inaccuracies in the Bible. Do a google search. Seriously. I know you won’t hear about them in church. I never did either. But there are many.

          I cannot prove that the Christian God doesn’t exist any more than you can prove that Krishna, Odin and Zeus don’t exist, yet you reject those gods. You are an atheist with regards to Hinduism and Norse and Greek traditional religions. The only difference is that I go one more and reject yours as well for the same reason you reject those three (and the thousands of other deities). There’s no proof that they exist.

          • Tannert

            Lol Honestly I dont attend Church. I am part of the Church, but I find you learn more about the Bible and God if you research it on your own. If you say the are inaccuracies I am asking for you to type one, which would have took less time than your last passage I have looked on google many times. I have found none, so use your expert google skills and show me just one.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Let your confirmation bias spin on this for a bit http://www.easterquiz.com/

              • RobMcCune

                Don’t you know? The Greek word for a single young man can mean two men, an angel, or nobody.

                • C.L. Honeycutt

                  Or possibly a tree, or the fictional race of alien Skrulls, or whatever else is convenient.

                • phantomreader42

                  And it can simultaneously mean all of those things, and none of them, if such a meaning is convenient, and magically lose those meanings the instant it becomes inconvenient.

            • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

              Since you are too lazy to find any on your own, I’ll do the googling for you. Here is the Skeptics Annotated Bible. http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html Here’s one of my favorites. The Bible clearly states that rabbits “chew the cud”. they don’t. There you go. there are plenty more but I have a paper to write on Schubert and don’t have time to look up what is easily available to anyone.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Especially when the response will be “Well, rabbits could: have chewed the cud then”

                Or perhaps “That was just a way of describing that rabbits eat their own poo, just the way God designed them”

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Oh look, nailed it!

                • Tannert

                  Its not that it is a way off describing it. It is the fact that the word in Hebrew translated cud is the re-digestion of anything that has been swallowed…and rabbits happen to fit in that category so it is a simple misunderstanding based on the English interpretation

              • Tannert

                Since you are to lazy to study scripture and see if it is true here i pulled this outta my bookmarks and pasted it for you :P

                No, the Bible is not wrong. The Bible was not written in English. The
                Old Testament was written in Hebrew. So it is to Hebrew that we should
                go to understand this conundrum.

                The interpretation of the phrase “chewing the cud” depends on the Hebrew words used for chewing and for cud. The Hebrew word for cud is gêrâh. This does not really mean cud,
                but actually is a broader term, meaning something that has been
                swallowed. Thus, if your child swallowed a penny, but was able to bring
                it up again, this could be described as gêrâh — though it would clearly not be what we understood by the English term cud. The Hebrew word that has been translated as chewing is âlâh,
                which actually means “to ascend” or “to raise.” Therefore, the Hebrew
                phrase could really be interpreted as “the rabbit raises what it has
                swallowed … .” Does this broader phrase allow us to classify rabbits
                with cows, sheep and goats? Yes, it does. Cows, sheep and goats are ruminants.
                That is to say, they literally chew the cud, in the more narrow sense
                that the English phrase uses. The key issue is that they are re-eating
                something. Their first swallowing did not complete the digestion
                process. Rabbits do something very similar. Rabbits actually produce two
                different sorts of fecal droppings. First, they produce a light brown
                dropping. This is actually partially digested food. The rabbits eat
                these droppings, which is why you might not often notice them. They
                re-digest these droppings, and then produce their second, darker colored
                droppings. In this way, the rabbits are raising and re-digesting
                something which they have already swallowed. Therefore, they fit
                completely within the terms of the broader Hebrew phrase, even though
                they cannot be said to “chew the cud” quite like cows do.

                • Tannert

                  I’ll explain another to you because I am sure you misunderstand it as well, when the Bible classifies the bat as a bird. The Hebrew word used is ‘owph which mean ones with wings which includes bats birds and even some winged insects. So once again it is a misunderstanding of scripture.

                • 3lemenope

                  Matthew 27:52-53 describes a remarkable event where several dead people spontaneously rise from their graves and start walking around Jerusalem like they were shaking off an afternoon siesta.

                  I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty weird occurrence. The sort of thing that, if it happened in your presence, you might actually write down. And yet, for all the incredible shock this event should have produced amongst the several citizens of Jerusalem, no independent report of this spectacular zombie shamble dance exists. Not even a fragment. And it’s not like the Romans weren’t fastidious record keepers, because they were.

                  Explain, if you can.

                • Fred

                  Pah, That’s just the Devil at work.

                  If you’re arguing for a scientific and historic bible, might as well go for the full cup of batshit crazy and throw the Devil into the mix also.

                • Tannert

                  The holy people of Matt. 27:52 were Old Testament
                  believers. They had died in faith of a coming redeemer who would pay
                  the penalty for their sins. Their resurrection fulfilled the prophetic
                  nature of the wave offering that took place on the Feast of First fruits (Leviticus 23:9-11), the day Jesus rose from the grave .

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Explain why the Romans, who kept records of everything, didn’t record dead people getting up and walking around. It seems the sort of think you’d want to record as being an anomaly.

                • Tannert

                  the best explanation is that the people being raised were Jewish, and they might have looked completely normal, and then only those who knew them would have known they were back from the dead. The Bible also says that they appeared to many but makes no claim that it was an event that we as apparent as say a global flood

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Which global flood also didn’t happen.

                • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

                  That’s a very long rationalization. I don’t buy it. I guess you do because you’ll look for any excuse to prove the Bible can’t be wrong.

                  Here’s the next one: why does the Bible contain two different genealogies for Mary?

        • Fred

          Prediction: this will devolve into games about what words mean.
          Yah and a blow job isn’t really sex. Thanks for your input President Clinton.

          • wabney

            Already has. Lots of what the Hebrew “really meant” going on below.

          • Tannert

            you have to understand hebrew and greek in order to understand scripture properly, so anytime something doesnt fit right you should check the literal translations first before ruling it as incorrect.

            • phantomreader42

              Tannert babbled:

              you have to understand hebrew and greek in order to understand scripture properly

              Since the vast majority of christians (yourself most likely included) do NOT understand Hebrew OR Greek, much less BOTH, then by your own admission the vast majority of christians cannot understand scripture properly. Your cult is based on a poorly-translated book of myths that even the faithful don’t understand, so why should anyone believe any of your idiocy?

              • Tannert

                No but it is possible to find the reasons of questionable things such as why the bat is classified as a bird. Basically you are getting mad for me being researching things very well for just assuming that they are correct or incorrect.

                • phantomreader42

                  No, your desperate, last-ditch attempt to shield your cult’s poorly-written book of myths from criticism is to declare that the bible doesn’t actually say what it says, and no one is allowed to question it until they spend years researching ancient languages. But your fellow cultists don’t know those languages either, and yet you aren’t berating THEM for believing scripture that they cannot possibly understand. No, your demands for research are purely self-serving and dishonest, and thus worthless.

                  How many decades have you spent studying Arabic or Hindi? Can you read Egyptian hieroglyphs? Norse runes? Ancient Chinese ideograms? I doubt it. And yet, despite this, you can’t bring yourself to see any problem with your dismissal of islam, and hinduism, your complete lack of interest in the exploits of Loki and Anubis, and your disdain for the teachings of Confucius and the Buddha. Either be consistent in your demand that NO ONE (not even YOU) is allowed to dismiss the claims of a religion without extensive study in the original language, in which case you and your cult are up shit creek without a paddle, or admit that your demand was just a desperate and futile attempt to hide your fragile faith from dissent. Either way, you fail completely and forever, so fuck off.

            • Fred

              Thanks for confirming that you just want to play word games and ignore any other serious point.

        • phantomreader42

          You cannot prove that Blurdiggeldy-florp does not exist. All you can do is babble moronic nonsense.

        • C.L. Honeycutt

          Diseases are not caused by evil spirits. Exodus didn’t occur. Nobody noticed a flood massive enough to submerge mountains. The Sumerians had long established the process of making beer by the time the earth was created according to the combined numbers of the OT (They probably tossed the stuff out and said “Never again!” after seeing light come into existence.)

          God’s prophet Ezekiel claimed that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer the city of Tyre… never happened. He tried, poor dear, oh how he did try. That’s always a fun one.

          Don’t forget to hide behind conveniently cherry-picked claims of metaphor and other dishonest apologetics repeated by rote next. I need to finish out my Bingo card.

          • Tannert

            you misinterpret Ezekiel 26 if you think Nebuchadnezzar is the only people that passage is talking about. ive posted on this already. As far as Exodus ill agree with you its a decent argument but there has been a discovery of a mountain that is probably the actual mount sinai which brings much more proof to the exodus story, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddz0mUkCRdk, scim it a bit to theatric for my taste

          • Tannert

            its not cherry picking if it matches with the rest of the Bible you all are the ones cherry picking here not me. You take one verse out of context and say it disproves the bible

            • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

              If the Bible is supposed to be perfect, all we have to do is disprove one thing and the whole idea of Biblical perfection is discarded. We all know the Bible was written by people and thus has no more merit as a philosophical document than any other document, and less than most due to its immorality. It is you who needs it to be right on everything as proof of its divine nature; we’re just showing you that it’s not always accurate and thus cannot be divine.

              Besides, if the Bible is not perfect, who decides which verses to ignore and which ones to follow?

              • Tannert

                no one has disproven one thing in the bible as of yet

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Your failure of comprehension does not mean the evidence has not been presented to you. It means you refuse to accept it, while offering no viable counter evidence of your own.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Humans were not created separately from other animals. We are more closely related to chimps than chimps are to gorillas.

                  Now, I fully expect you to say that’s not proved, and granted there are a handful of individuals out there who actually do understand molecular genetics and agree with you. There are also a handful of people out there who think the earth sits motionless in space and everything else revolves around us. And I don’t mean that in an “it’s all relative, crazy orbits included” sense.

                • Tannert

                  Are you implying that Christians believe that?

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  Various Christians believe a lot of things. Francis Collins knows his distant cousin is a Chimpanzee, Ken Ham believes otherwise. I don’t know, or really care, what you believe in that regard.

                  What I am stating is that observable fact contradicts a literal interpretation of the bible.

                • phantomreader42

                  The fact that you’re too dishonest to admit that it’s happened doesn’t magically rewrite reality.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          I’ll accept that as a valid argument as soon as you prove that the Hindu gods do not exist.

  • Tannert

    That does not mean we believe everyone would be terrible people if God doesn’t exist. It just means that scientifically you could never say that something, such as what Hitler did, was objectively wrong, because it was only what the chemicals in his brain produced when they reacted.

    • Eli

      Are you suggesting that morally wrong actions can only occur if they have an inherently “evil” source? I’d argue morally wrong things can be done by accident, even by well-intentioned people (that’s why we charge people with manslaughter, not just 1st degree murder), so certainly, I think morally wrong things can have have a neutral origin such as “brain chemicals” and still be “wrong.” I think moral judgements apply to the action and intent, not the physical (or supernatural) reason they occurred.

      • Tannert

        um no i am only saying that from a scientific stand point nothing can be viewed as evil if there is no God.

        • phantomreader42

          Yes, we’re aware that you’re saying a load of ridiculous bullshit. We’ve heard it before, and repeating it doesn’t magically make your cult’s lies true. So fuck off and quit wasting your time spamming moronic nonsense.

          • Tannert

            If it is moronic nonsense please disprove the bible on any point scientifically or historically please and ill agree with you that I am being a fool.

            • Tannert

              I have been trying to disprove the Bible for quite awhile now. So i’ll say the best argument against the Bible is Exodus, but the Mount Sinai in Egypt is most likely not the one mentioned in scripture the actual Mount Sinai probably in Modern Day Saudi Arabia known as Jebal Al-Lawz

              • Tannert

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddz0mUkCRdk scim thru its long and has a lot of OH My theatrics, but the little bit of footage they have is enough to show you the mountain matches the biblical description.

              • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                Pi is not 3. The world does not rest on unmoving pillars. Adam and Eve never existed. Eden never existed. The world is not ~6,000 years old. There was never a global flood. Jesus doesn’t fulfill Old Testament prophecies, never rose from the dead, and quite possibly never existed.

                If you haven’t disproved the Bible, you haven’t been trying hard enough.

                • Tannert

                  The reference to pi as three could easily have been the writer estimating. The bible says that god hung the world on nothing. The world does sit on an imaginary axis which could be considered unmoving pillars…the bible does not state that the earth is 6000 years old. Never a global flood facts please not just a comment, and the fact that you refute Jesus of Nazareth as a person is a joke. That is eastablished as historical fact…

                • Tannert

                  Voyages in World History.

                • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                  That is eastablished as historical fact

                  You strike me as one who has never seriously read any of the arguments against your position.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Pi had been known to be 22/7 at the time as the most estimate guess. The Bible gives two different accounts of the world- hung on nothing and resting on pillars. They are a) incompatible with each other and b) not accurate. The Earth’s axis is not imaginary and it certainly isn’t pillars. There was definitely never a global flood- zero evidence for it and it’s impossible for there to have been that much water just showing up in the ecosystem.

                  As for Jesus, nope. Given that his purported dates of birth (two gospels give two different dates) are impossible to reconcile, that no one wrote anything about him until ~70 years after his death, that a whole lot of the other stuff in the gospels definitely didn’t happen (no zombie plague in Jerusalem!), and that there are no contemporary Roman records of any Yeshua ben Yoseph being arrested or crucified, it’s definitely not established historical fact that the man existed. The first mention of Christians in Roman records is 100-200 years afterwards, when this crazy new cult was mentioned.

                  The Josephus reference you will almost certainly point to is a known forgery.

                • Tannert

                  You seem to throw the Bible out as a historical record. History is built based on ancient records we find and archaeological evidence. The bible has more manuscripts than any other ancient record and makes numerous references to Jesus and no one question the existence of the prophets that were eye witnesses to some of the events they describe

                • phantomreader42

                  There are a lot of books about Dungeons & Dragons. That doesn’t magically make Pelor and Tiamat real.

                • Tannert

                  Lol do those predict the future ? I didnt think so….

                • RobMcCune

                  Only if you properly interpret it in the original Gygax.

                • phantomreader42

                  I’ve offered precisely as much evidence that they predict the future as you have offered that your cult’s poorly-translated myths predict the future (that is, none at all).

                • wabney

                  Please provide clear, precise and irrefutable examples of the Bible “predicting the future”.

                • Tannert

                  Predicted ca. 855 BC: The prophet Elijah predicts Jezebel would be eaten by dogs upon her death in Jezreel. (1 Kings 21:23)– Fulfilled ca. 841 BC: Jezebel is killed in Jezreel and dogs eat her body (2 Kings 9:36).
                  Predicted ca. 760 BC: Amos predicts Israel would be restored as a nation and would never be uprooted again (Amos 9:15)–Fulfilled in 1948.
                  Predicted ca. 732 BC: Isaiah says Egypt and Ethiopia would be conquered by Assyria (Isaiah 20:3-5).–Fulfilled ca. 673-670 BC when Assyria conquers the northeast African nations.
                  Predicted ca. 701 BC: Isaiah claims Israel will be taken captive by the Babylonian empire (Isaiah 39).–Fulfilled ca. 597 & 586 BC: Babylon takes captives and sacks Jerusalem the first time then totally destroys Jerusalem about 10 years later.

                  Predicted ca. 589 BC: Ezekiel tells about the fall of
                  the great city Tyre, claiming that the Lord “will cause many nations to
                  come up against thee,” (Ezekiel 26, 27).–Fulfilled in 586-573 BC: Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon lays siege against the city. Fulfilled in 370s BC: a king of Cyprus conquers the city. Fulfilled in 332 BC: Alexander the Great conquers the city. Fulfilled in 315-316 BC: Antigonus, who served under Alexander, attacks and conquers the city. Fulfilled in 1124: The city falls to the Crusaders. Fulfilled in 1291: The city falls to the Muslim armies of the Mameluks. Also predicted that the remains of the city would be swept into the sea, which was fulfilled by Alexander the great.
                  Predicted ca. 543 BC: Daniel tells of a great Grecian
                  king who would conquer the Persian empire but would have his kingdom
                  divided four ways after his death (Daniel 8).–Fulfilled in 330 BC when Alexander the Great defeats Persia and 281 BC after the Greek generals who succeed Alexander reach an agreement after years of war to split the kingdom four ways.
                  Predicted ca. 536 BC: Daniel prophesies that the Greek empire would not go to Alexander the Great’s heirs (Daniel 11).–Fulfilled ca. 323-281 BC after Alexander’s death when his generals fight over the kingdom while shutting out (and killing) his heirs.

                • phantomreader42

                  I realize you’re incredibly stupid and have no self-awareness, but statements in a book matching later statements in another book doesn’t magically make them real, it just means someone knew how to READ.

                  Then again, I suppose to someone like you, the ability to read for comprehension must seem miraculous, since it’s something you could never dream of doing.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Actually, they do. I was very sad indeed to find out that Jericho as a major walled city likely never existed and that the rest of the historicity of the Bible is suspect at best. It’s politico-mythological history, written by someone with a very clear agenda (priestly power over secular/kingly power). As a work of history giving us a view of the power struggles of the day, the OT is fascinating. As objective history, not so much. The prophets of the day were dealing with the political and social issues of the day, so their accounts of things are interesting but always to be taken as personal accounts (ie grain of salt). You wouldn’t learn a lot about the Civil War if all you read were Southern ladies’ diaries, after all. Well, that’s effectively what we have; skewed, biased, limited writings.

                  The New Testament has even more problems. Not only did the Council of Nicaea burn 8/12 gospels, two of the remaining books are clearly plagiarized from another one, while the last one disagrees with those three on huge piles of the details. The NT has many contradictory manuscripts that don’t cohere into a coherent whole, was written ~70 years after Jesus supposedly died for the earliest manuscripts (so probably by people who never met him, given life expectancies at the time), and just plain includes some crazy (Revelations, anyone?). No documents outside the NT give any evidence for Jesus’s existence or divinity, both of which must be proven for Christianity to have any leg to stand on.

                • Tannert

                  The remains of Jericho have been found, and the north wall is the only wall that collapsed, and archaeologist can find no apparent reason as to why it collapsed. I did a research paper on this within the past year. So i know that it is solid fact that Jericho was found.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  [citations needed]

                  I have some: archaeologists saying that the Biblical history doesn’t match up with any digs we’ve done at all.
                  http://individual.utoronto.ca/mfkolarcik/jesuit/herzog.html

                  Also: “The Walls of Jericho: A stratum of burnt matter relating to the City-IV destruction has been dated to 1617–1530 BC at the end of the Middle Bronze Age. It contains remains of The Walls of Jericho, which were destroyed either by an earthquake or a siege. Opinions are divided as to whether this destruction corresponds to that described in the Bible. According to the biblical account the Israelis destroyed the city after its walls fell down in around 1407 BC. Excavations led by John Garstang in 1930 dated the destruction of Jericho to 1400 BC, which would confirm the biblical story. However, the site was re-excavated by Kathleen Kenyon in the 1950s and the destruction of the walls was redated to around 1550 BC. Bryant G. Wood later reviewed Kenyon’s field notes and made a number of criticisms of her work. Wood found a number of ambiguities in the investigations and he also pointed to results of carbon 14 tests on a burnt stratum that dated the layer to 1410 BC, with a margin of error of 40 years. Wood’s conclusions therefore confirmed Garstang’s original estimates. However, the carbon dating result was a consequence of an incorrect calibration. In 1995 Hendrik J. Bruins and Johannes van der Plicht used a high precision radiocarbon dating test on 18 samples from Jericho, including six samples of carbonized cereal from the burnt stratum. The results of these tests gave the age of the strata as 1562 BC, with a margin of error of 38 years. These results therefore confirm Kenyon’s estimate and cast doubt on the biblical story.” -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_archaeology

                  EDIT: Where are you doing your research? You claim to be trying to disprove the Bible, but all I see are apologetics and weak historical claims that have been long debunked. Find better sources, sir or madam. Your current ones are failing you.

                • Tannert
                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Did … did you just link me to conservapedia? Bahahahaha! Sorry, sorry, but I did just almost fall out of my chair.

                  That is the epitome of “not a valid source”. It’s biased, has a clear agenda, and cherry-picks data all over the place. Try again. As I said before, your sources fail you. You need to use the Internet as intended- to fly outside the conservative bubble and find actual information instead of propaganda.

                • Tannert
                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  You need to go to real archaeological websites, ones without agendas. If you walk into a dig wanting to find something, human confirmation bias makes it likely you’ll “find” it, even if it’s nowhere to be found.

                • Tannert

                  And your first website says that no mountain that matches the biblical account of scripture for mount sinai has been found, however, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddz0mUkCRdk, there is a video that will show you and tell you how this mountain matches the description and why.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Yeah, I’ve seen that. I’ve also seen it debunked (ie see the source I linked). I’ll take qualified sources who are clearly unhappy with their results but compelled by intellectual honesty to report them over some Youtube video with an obvious agenda any day.

                • Tannert

                  And just because you have been very nice the whole time we have been discussing this I’ll tell you that i believe the latest possible time frame for the rapture to occurs is 2021-2022 because the seven year tribulation must occur by roughly 2028 based on scripture which means within the next 8 years Israel will have been attacked by Russia and Damascus will no longer be a city, everything going on in Syria as of now will lead to the fulfillment of yet another biblical prophecy

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  If that doesn’t happen- if, in 10 years, the world is still here and bumbling along like it does, will you change your mind? Will you admit your faith was wrong? What evidence would it take to change your mind?

                  Also, Russia will attack Israel? Please, at least be a teeny bit realistic in your doomsday scenario! It would be Iran (with possible Russian backing) doing the dirty work. Russia has absolutely no reason to ever attack Israel; heck, even the Russian and Israeli mafias get along as well as any criminal organizations can.

                • Tannert

                  yes if millions of christians are still here and those things have not occurred in 10 years it would do a heck of a lot to change my mind because i shouldnt be on earth in ten years according to scripture

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I hope you remember that 10 years from now ;-P

                • Tannert

                  And if Damascus is gone and Russia attacks Israel would you then would you change your mind?

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I wouldn’t see Russia going insane as proof of God or Revelations, no. Neither would Damascus being bombed into the ground mean anything- the Syrians are doing a pretty good job of that already. Just because that particular combination of events is super unlikely to happen given today’s geopolitical situation doesn’t mean there is no way to get from here to there with just the politics of the day. Now, if random people just up and disappeared for no apparent reason and they all shared some certain salient characteristics (all good people who were also Christian, say, especially of a particular sect), that would be pretty telling evidence.

                • Tannert

                  well i highly doubt it will be a particular sec and i highly doubt they will all be considered good people. The ones who go will have one thing in common and that is that they are sinners and believe Jesus died for our sins, and have ask for forgiveness of those transgressions. Any who think that they have to do works and were/are not saved by grace alone .

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Ok. If a whole bunch of Christians vanish for no good reason, even over the course of awhile (an unusual proposition, most people claim the Rapture is going to be an instantaneous thing), and they are known Christians with similar beliefs to your specific version of Christianity, it’ll be a point of evidence. Of course, someone would also have to prove that they are actually missing; not dead, not run away, etc. It would help if there were eyewitnesses to the vanishing.

                  Because the premise (people getting pulled bodily up to Heaven) is so extreme, the evidence is going to have to be really compelling that it’s happening.

                • Tannert

                  The so called lost books of the bible were written at a way later date than the rest of the bible, and not only that they contain me historical geological and archaeological mistakes.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  How would you know? We’ve only found a few of them. Most have been lost to history forever.

                • Tannert

                  Deciding which books were to be included in the Old Testament was
                  done by senior priests based on general agreement that each book was
                  authentic (written by the person identified as its author) and divinely
                  inspired. This was completed about 425 BC.

                  The New Testament had pretty much come together by 150 AD but there
                  continued to be discussion about a few books until about 400 AD. It was
                  not officially canonized until the Council of Trent in the 1500′s. There
                  were three basic criteria for inclusion.

                  1. Were the authors either eyewitnesses to the events they wrote about or at least directly taught about them by the Apostles?

                  2. Was each book’s teachings consistent with church practice and tradition?

                  3. Was each book already in general use by the church, and accepted as the Divine Word of God?

                  In both Old and New testaments, the books included had to be
                  generally viewed as the work of divinely inspired writers who faithfully
                  converted God’s Word into written form. (2 Peter 1:20-21)

                  The extra books in the Catholic Bible are called The Apocrypha. They
                  were written after the Canon of the Hebrew Bible was complete. The word
                  apocrypha means “hidden, or secret”. Due to their doubtful authenticity
                  the word has come to mean “fraudulent, or forged” by some scholars.

                  Although some feel there are many more, The Apocrypha is normally
                  made up of fourteen books which are found in Greek and Latin
                  translations but never in the Hebrew Old Testament. When Jerome
                  translated the Old Testament into Latin he refused to include them
                  within the body of the book and established a separate section he named
                  “The Apocrypha”. Only 11 of these are included in the Catholic Bible
                  Today but all 14 can still be found in the Orthodox Bible.

                  The Apocrypha was removed from the Protestant Bible altogether at the
                  time of the Reformation. Here are several reasons why many Christian
                  authorities reject the writings of the Apocrypha:

                  1. The Apocrypha was never in the Hebrew Canon.

                  2. Neither Jesus Christ, nor any of the New Testament writers, ever
                  quoted from the Apocrypha. (Jude mentioned Enoch, but Enoch was not the
                  author of the books that bear his name.)

                  3. Josephus(a well-known historian from the Biblical era) excluded
                  them from his list of sacred scripture. He felt they were lacking
                  authenticity or validity in essence or origin.

                  4. During the first four centuries there was no mention made of the
                  Apocrypha in any catalogue or canonical book. They were believed to be
                  slipped in during the fifth century. There are reputed to be 263
                  quotations and 370 allusions to the Old Testament in the New Testament
                  and not one of them refers to the Apocryphal writings.

                  5. The books of the Apocrypha were never asserted to be divinely inspired or to possess divine authority in their contents.

                  6. No prophets were connected with these writings. Each book of the Old Testament was written by a man who was a prophet.

                  7. These books are replete with historical, geographical and
                  chronological errors. In order to accept the Apocrypha one would have to
                  reject the Old Testament narratives.

                  8. The Apocryphal doctrines and practices are contrary to the Canon of Scripture.

                  There is some historical insight to be gained from the Apocrypha,
                  since they were written in the time between the Old and New Testaments.
                  But extreme caution must be exercised. These books weren’t written by
                  the people whose names are mentioned in their titles, and they are
                  neither theologically nor historically accurate. You should test the
                  things they say against other reliable sources before accepting them as
                  valid.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  I hate to tell you this (not really), but the intellectual rigor of religious zealots in 450 AD was … not so high. They also didn’t have the tools we do today to figure out when the gospels were written. So anything they say has to come with a monstrous piel of salt.

                  As for the OT, Christians put it in a funny order. Jews order the books chronologically by when they were written, which makes at least some sense. Christians put them in an order which fits their narrative of the OT leading to the NT, but doesn’t actually make any sense when you study the books at all.

                • Tannert

                  The interpolation you talk about of Josephus doesn’t even remove the name of Jesus

                • Tannert
                • Tannert

                  and please show me where it is proven to be a forgery

                • Tannert

                  look up the hebrew mazzaroth.

                • Tannert

                  predates the zodiac so i do believe that christians were mentioned before then

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

                  Go and learn, my child, go and learn.

                • Tannert

                  You are probably thinking of 1 Kings 7:23 which some people believe references Pi. But, it does not mention Pi.

                  What
                  it says Solomon’s circular sea was 10 cubits wide and “it took a line
                  of 30 cubits to go around it.” People now use that to claim that, “The
                  Bible says that Pi=3.” But even most skeptics find that rather silly, as
                  the claim assumes that Biblical writers measured a *perfect* circle
                  with modern accuracy, and no rounding. This claim also assumes that
                  Biblical writers were familiar with the concept of Pi, but they were not
                  familiar with this. Pi as a mathematical concept comes hundreds of
                  years after the Bible was written.

                • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

                  Pi as a mathematical concept predates the Bible by a few thousand years. Ancient Greeks knew about it and used 22/7 as a fairly close approximation.

                • RobMcCune

                  The world does sit on an imaginary axis which could be considered unmoving pillars…

                  Except that the earth revolves around the sun, and the change in orientation of the earth’s axis relative to the sun is what causes seasons.

                • Fred

                  “The reference to pi as three could easily have been the writer estimating.”

                  LOL, you said the Bible was scientifically and historically true. The best you got now is a maybe it’s true?

                  Can you stop lying?

                • WoodyTanaka

                  “The world does sit on an imaginary axis which could be considered unmoving pillars”

                  Wrong. it spins on its axis. Saying it “is hung” or “sits” on anything is unscientific gibberish. Moreover, the Earth’s axis isn’t immovable, it is subject to axial procession and nutation.

                • Tannert

                  You are getting upset at a writer from two thousand years ago describing something a tab bit simpler than we understand it two thousand years later…

                • WoodyTanaka

                  Nope, I’m merely showing that the statement isn’t merely “a tad bit simpler,” it’s unequivocally wrong. It’s not even one of those ones where you people make some lame excuse about. They are statements of fact in your supposedly perfect book which are simply and utterly wrong.

                  And they talk about something which, if your god wanted to accurately describe it, he could have done so in a very simple, but fundamentally accurate way. The reality, of course, is that the primitives who actually wrote the book had a view of cosmology and that was wrong. The earth is not a flattened disk in a bubble of eternal water as the Near East peoples once thought.

                  The only question now is whether you are man enough to admit it.

            • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

              That’s easy. The order of creation is not possible. The six day creation is not what happened. There you go.

            • DavidMHart

              If you were talking to a Muslim or a Hindu, and they were trying to justify their position by saying that in order for you to be right, you would need to disprove the Koran or the Vedas, you wouldn’t accept that at all. Yet for your own religion you claim special privilege.

              It doesn’t work like that. If you want to claim that a certain text is the work of a supernatural power, you have to demonstrate that; the fact that someone else doesn’t disprove it (especially when you go out of your way to move the goalposts so as to make the claim unfalsifiable) does not make the claim true.

              • Tannert

                I never said i could prove 100 percent that its true but only that it is logical, and more logical than No God

                • Tannert

                  The Koran is easily disproven considering its writer said they were to adhere to the teachings of the Bible and Galatian 1:6-9 says the new testament is the gospel to be written before the millennium

                • phantomreader42

                  You’re not allowed to question the Koran unless you’ve spent at least three decades studying ancient Arabic. :P

                  I’m sure you’ll recognize that as absurd when it’s used to shield a cult OTHER than yours from criticism, but of course you won’t be able to apply that to your book of myths, because doing so would require you to look beyond your narcissism for three whole seconds.

                • Tannert

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_in_Islam
                  Muhammad the founder of the religion believed Jesus and his prophets words to be true…if that is the case he could not have been a prophet based on his own words…

        • Eli

          If evil doesn’t exist without God, then yes, you are saying that “evil”, that “wrong-ness,” requires a supernatural source. I’m saying that “evil” is a human-social concept, not a scientific or supernatural one.

          • phantomreader42

            And that god is the source of all evil. :)

          • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

            Evil is not the same as wrong. I don’t believe in evil. Obviously there are things that are wrong.

            • Eli

              Actually, technically speaking, I do agree with you Houndentenor. I realized I may have confused my point by implying that evil and wrong are the same thing. I don’t really “believe” in evil either, although that’s a more complicated point for me that I wanted to avoid discussing here.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Hasn’t anybody yet pointed out Sam Harris’s “The Moral Landscape”?

          Keep in mind there’s a difference between “an empirical measure of the harm something done exists” and “we can empirically measure the harm something does”

    • wabney

      Annnnnd…. Hitler. *smh*

      • Tannert

        I personally believe Hitler was wrong. Do you?

        • wabney

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reductio_ad_Hitlerum

          I personally believe lots of things/people/ideas are wrong, however when you trot out Hitler as your evidence in this type of discussion, many people are going to immediately ignore you going forward.

        • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

          Everyone here will agree with you. Genocide is wrong. Of course the Judeo-Christian god orders genocide on multiple occasions. How do you reconcile that?

    • C Peterson

      Why is the opinion of society with respect to morality any less objective than the opinion of some god? Especially, given that we know society exists and there’s a good deal of doubt about the existence of any gods!

      What Hitler did is objectively wrong because the society of his time considered it wrong. It’s as simple as that.

      If Hitler knew he was wrong, he was immoral. If he felt he was doing right, he wasn’t acting immorally- in a sense, he could have been a “good” person. That doesn’t mean that we, as a society, can’t view his actions as wrong, however.

      • Tannert

        Your assuming that you know everyones feelings in society including pedophiles rapist serial killer psychos…which is irrational and impossible society cant set morals they are individually defined if no God exist.

        • Eli

          Plenty has been written and discussed for thousands of years about just what morals and ethics are. I think you should just go read some of that instead of repeating over and over again the same false-dichotomy of God or absolute subjectivity.

        • C Peterson

          I’m not saying that at all. A society with any significant percentage of pedophile rapist serial killer psychos doesn’t exist. It couldn’t exist. The reality is that societies invent moral codes that work for them. Societies that invent better codes generally do better, and survive longer.

          What I am saying is that morality is defined by societal consensus. Objectively, what is right or wrong are what society determines to be right or wrong. This is how the world actually works, even in societies that pretend their morality comes from some old book. It doesn’t. The old book can slow down natural change in a society’s moral code, but the followers of the book still change their interpretation as necessary to stay in sync with society. Or, switch to a new book.

  • Blacksheep

    Some form of morality – people doing what best ensures the survival of the species – would exist with or without God, in my opinion. But Christian Morality in particular is interesting (to me) for two main reasons:

    1. The NT put an authentic, honest and unique spin on morality by challenging people to behave on the inside as well as the outside. When Christ says, “It is written that you should not kill, but I’m telling you it’s wrong to even think hateful thoughts towards others”… that’s a paradigm shift. There are countless examples of Jesus “re-thinking” the morality of the day – morality that could be faked. All that’s necessary for the species to survive is outward moral behavior, Christ taught holistic morality.

    2. Christianity teaches forgiveness, so the heart of the faith transcends morality and gets to a place of grace in which morality ceases to be an issue. And then goes on to suggest that because we are forgiven, the response will be genuine and heart felt moral behavior.

    • WoodyTanaka

      Sounds like a bunch of nonsense to me because real-world Christians are no better – and many are much worse, morality wise – than non-Christians. Hell, modern Christianity consists of little other than hating other people (be it gays, Muslims, people who favor abortion rights, etc). How paradigm shifting is it if even those who profess to believe that this guy is god don’t bother with his supposed teachings?

    • indorri

      Regarding 1), the spin isn’t that unique; virtue ethics is a similar approach, except in emphasizes developing a certain character such that moral outlooks and states flow naturally. This is also present in other systems, like Buddhism (even though in Buddhism, specifically, the goal isn’t moral behaviour in and of itself).

    • Anna

      When Christ says, “It is written that you should not kill, but I’m telling you it’s wrong to even think hateful thoughts towards others”… that’s a paradigm shift.

      This is interesting because I actually think one of the most immoral things about Christianity is the way that it turns thought into a crime. In this worldview, how people act doesn’t matter as much as what they think and what they believe. I see it as very Big Brother-esque, like evangelicals are living in a version of 1984 where every negative thought must be either quelled or repented.

      • indorri

        I find this abhorrent as well, but think this is really only an issue because a healthy chunk of Christianity (though Catholicism tends to waver on this, depending on who you’re talking to) consider transgressions to be worthy of retribution. This means thought/internal “transgressions” are thought crimes.

        However, I see merit in the idea of reflecting on our own thoughts and actions and I don’t think it’s rash to call certain thoughts or modes of thinking to be immoral. What corrupts such a system, however, is the association of guilt and internalizing that you deserve to be punished for having such thoughts, and rationalizing such a view.

        • Anna

          Well, I have no problem encouraging reflection, but I do think it is very dangerous to say that a thought can be immoral. A thought is only something that happens inside your own head. It cannot hurt anyone else, and therefore (IMO) absolutely cannot be immoral.

          Now, it’s true that certain modes of thinking can be negative to someone’s emotional state, ie: criminal thoughts, suicidal thoughts, etc. I would agree that these are only made worse by notions of sin, guilt, shame, and punishment. I think people who are unable to control their negative thoughts should be able to find help in a nonjudgmental environment so that they can prevent those thoughts from leading to actions which might hurt themselves or others.


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