Welcome to Evangelical Purgatory – Heaven Waits

Editor’s Note: Here’s an opportunity for non-believers, including clergy, I presume, to eventually arrive in heaven. How good-hearted for evangelicals to offer such a chance. Maybe we’ll meet again in eternity after all. This essay was originally titled “Alternative Viewpoints on Hell: Evangelicals Attempt to Give the Vengeful God a Makeover” and can also be found on the blog of TCP member Bruce Gerencser.

======================

By Bruce Gerencser

An increasing number of Evangelicals find themselves uneasy and troubled by the belief that non-Christians will suffer untold pain and agony in the flames of Hell after they die; that this eternal torture requires God giving unbelievers a fireproof body; that most of the human race will live a never-ending life in Hell. Instead of going the way of Universalists, these Evangelicals attempt to reinterpret the Bible in ways that allow them to sleep easy at night when pondering the fate of their unsaved family, friends, and neighbors.

Should atheists feel good about these new and improved interpretations of the Bible? After all, if anyone is going to Hell, atheists are. We are, according to countless Evangelicals who have commented on this blog over the years, tools of Satan, child molesters, perverts, and haters of God and Christianity. When it comes to assigning rooms in Hell, atheists will surely have the hottest rooms in Satan’s Mar-a-Lago. Shouldn’t atheists be glad that Evangelicals are thinking about them and concerned for their eternal wellbeing?

The short answer is no. Evangelicals who take a revisionist approach to Christianity’s historic teachings on hell are more concerned with how the idea of people burning in hell makes them feel than they are concerned with those actually doing the burning. Evangelicals may be pained by the idea of atheists, along with Muslims, Buddhists, Shintoists, Agnostics, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Pagans slow-roasted alive in God’s custom-built torture chamber. But I suspect that they are more concerned with how this makes them feel rather than they are the actual effect on unbelievers. As far as atheists are concerned, not only do we not believe in the existence of the Christian God, neither do we believe in the existence of Satan, demons, hell, and the afterlife There is no rational reason for Evangelicals to worry about atheist souls. If atheists are unconcerned about their eternal destiny, why should Evangelicals be concerned for them?

Some Evangelicals believe that all who reject Jesus and refuse to put their faith and trust in him will be annihilated after death, forfeiting their right to heavenly real estate in eternity. Annihilationism is the Evangelical version of capital punishment for the soul. While Evangelicals believing this doctrine could argue that Evangelicals-turned-atheists didn’t believe in the Christian God and accept his gracious offer of salvation — being zapped into nothingness their just dessert for faithlessness— this still leaves billions of people eternally punished for no other reasons than being born in the wrong country or having the wrong religion. Billions of good people will never see their families again, all because they had the wrong beliefs or lived in the wrong zip code. Yes, annihilationism rescues Evangelicals from the burden of the Bible’s teachings on hell, but billions of people will suffer the eternal loss of those they love most. As with all life-after-death scenarios, Evangelicals are rewarded while everyone else suffers for not being on God’s guest list.

Recently, an Evangelical man by the name of Terry Lee Miller has been hawking his book, The Death of Endless Damnation, in the comment section of my blog and in several emails he sent to me. Miller believes in what he calls “universal Christian redemption for all.” As you will see in a moment, universal Christian redemption is just a Baptist version of Catholic beliefs on death, judgment, purgatory, and the lake of fire, with the exception that in Miller’s scheme of things, everyone, in the end, after being sufficiently tortured, makes it to Heaven.

Here’s how Miller describes his beliefs:

No Bruce you will not ‘burn in the Lake of Fire for eternity, but will be saved one day, even though you are an atheist at present. Oh yes, of course you will go to hell/sheol when you die, but that will merely be a temporary place of punishment until one day you are stood before the white throne and are judged according to your works, and will receive severe punishment for your wickedness and disbelief. After being punished severely by a loving Savior, you of course will have come to your senses, and on bent knees, will embrace the Lord Jesus Christ who yes, does love you despite your present condition. Yes, all will ultimately be saved, Muslims, Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, Atheists, Agnostics, everyone will be saved, but that salvation of course will only come from the Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the one who, yes, still does love you. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God!

Devils-from-Rila-monastery

Michael Mock, a friend of mine and regular commenter on my blog, summed up Miller’s beliefs this way:

Demon: “Well, yes, it is a lake of fire, but I’m happy to say it’s only temporary…”

Human: “Only temporary? You want me to step into a lake of fire because it’s only temporary?”

Demon: “Not at all. We have many options. You could parachute in. There’s a diving board, so you could do a flip, or a cannonball!”

Human: “Are there options that don’t involve burning forever?”

Demon: “But I just told you, it’s not forever!”

Human: “Okay, fine, it’s not forever. How long is it?”

Demon: “Well, at the rate you humans are going, I can’t imagine that we won’t get to Armageddon and the Final Judgement within the next thousand years.”

Human: “Strangely, this is not making me feel any better about the prospect of perpetual torment.”

Demon: “Nevertheless…”

Human: “Could I spend that time in, maybe, a tub of lukewarm whiskey?”

Demon: (looks vaguely guilty)

Human: (raises eyebrows) “You actually have a tub of lukewarm whiskey?”

Demon: “Well, it’s more of an olympic-sized pool, but it’s usually reserved for demons…”

Human: “But there’s lukewarm whiskey, and I could just sit in that until the final judgement?”

Demon: “It… it is lukewarm whiskey. But the demons really would prefer to–”

Human: “Sign me up for the lukewarm whiskey pool, please.”

Demon: “You’ll have to do laps until the final judgement.”

Human: “Deal.”

Demon: {sighing deeply} “Very well.”

What a great deal, right? I wish Evangelicals would stop trying to reinterpret the Bible so they can “feel” better about their God’s vindictive, hateful, God-awful nature. If the Bible is what Evangelicals say it is — inspired, inerrant, infallible, unalterable — then they must own that their wonderful, awesome, loving, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious God is anything but. The only way forward for Evangelicals is to invent a new God and write a new Bible that better reflects their twenty-first-century moral sensibilities. As long as the Bible is considered a closed canon, Evangelicals are going to have to live with the fact that God’s Precious Moments® Bible explicitly teaches that Jehovah is a God of judgment and wrath, and those who reject Jesus and his atoning work on the cross will be everlastingly tortured in the Lake of Fire. If, as the Bible says, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then the deity who drowned the entire human race save eight people in Noah’s flood is the same God today. What’s changed is how Evangelicals want to be viewed by unbelievers. Smarting from being painted in the press and on the internet as judgmental, hateful, narrow-minded bigots, many Evangelicals want to be viewed in a kinder light. Unfortunately, as long as Evangelicals carry their leather-bound inerrant Bibles to church on Sundays and bow in obeisance to its anti-human teachings and authority — expecting everyone to do the same — they shouldn’t anticipate that atheists and other unbelievers will think well of them.

============

bruce gerencser 2015-002Bio: Bruce Gerencser lives in rural NW Ohio with his wife of 39 years. He and his wife have 6 grown children and 10 grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for 25 years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. He left the ministry in 2005 and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. He is also one of the original members of The Clergy Project, which began in 2011. He blogs at The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser, where the above post originally appears.  It is reposted with permission.

>>>>> Photo Credits:  “<a href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Devils-from-Rila-monastery.jpg#/media/File:Devils-from-Rila-monastery.jpg”

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Bob Jase

    God is unchanging except when believers feel like changing him.

    • mason

      All the Gods are myths, easily changed, easily dismissed.

  • carolyntclark

    So, I have a question for Terry Lee Miller, “how do you know these things”? Has God spoken to you about all these details ?
    It’s the same question I have of Theologians and all persons who have opinions and declarations about the unknowable. Claims that their creative imaginations have any validity is beyond arrogant.

    The Pope recently attached to certain acts of piety, a Plenary Indulgence, i.e.relief of all punishment due to sin…if you died immediately in the state of grace, you’d go straight to heaven,
    no purgatory. How is this contract arranged between the Pope and God? The notion of mortal man having access to the supernatural is plain silly, and people who buy into them are plain foolish.

  • Kevin K

    Aren’t the Hindu beliefs on annihilationism pretty much that that is the preferred state? Isn’t that what Nirvana is all about? “Blessed nothingness”? It’s not a punishment — it’s the end reward!

  • alwayspuzzled

    A paradox:
    Christopher Hitchens is now wrapped in the loving arms of God.
    Is Christopher Hitchens in heaven because he will spend eternity wrapped in the loving arms of God?
    Or is Christopher Hitchens in hell because he will spend eternity wrapped in the loving arms of God?

  • https://seekeroftruthweb.wordpress.com/ (((Kevin)))

    As long as the Bible is considered a closed canon, Evangelicals are going to have to live with the fact that God’s Precious Moments® Bible explicitly teaches that Jehovah is a God of judgment and wrath, and those who reject Jesus and his atoning work on the cross will be everlastingly tortured in the Lake of Fire.

    “Explictly” is not true: the hellfire is but one theory, though the dominant one and the one whose adherents have the loudest voice. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe the Bible, and that it’s inerrant, but they reject the hellfire theory as a false teaching, a deception of Satan. They believe in annihilation, but think that God, when Jesus returns, will raise a bunch of people to life, including those who weren’t necessarily godly. People will only be snuffed out if they reject Him again.

    Also, many universalists believe in inerrancy. They believe that the Bible teaches that everyone will be saved (1 Tim. 4:10, referring to God as the Savior of all, and Rom. 5, that says that even as Adam’s sin brought death to everyone, so what Jesus did will bring life to everyone are commonly cited.) Universalists do believe in a time of judgment, though. One universalist even claimed hellfire preachers will face judgment for poisoning people’s minds against God. Universalists also stress that the Greek word aion, from which we get “eon”, means “age-enduring”, and that “everlasting” and “eternal” are bad translations.

    One thing commonly agreed is that Jesus’ hell references (using gehenna) are referring to a valley outside Jerusalem that was used as a garbage dump, whose fires we always burning. (Also, they had previously incurred God’s wrath for burning their kids to pagan gods, something God said He hadn’t even thought of.) Also, the rejecters of the hellfire teaching say that “the lake of fire” is symbolic, since death is thrown into the lake, but death is not a physical object.

    Also, even in Christianity’s early centuries, some church fathers preached universalism.

    For these reasons, it cannot be claimed that the Bible explicitly teaches eternal torture, the claims of Fundamentalists and heresy-hunters notwithstanding.

    • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

      The focus of my blog in primarily Evangelical Christianity. The sentence/word you object to explicitly

  • Craig

    Atheism suffers from moral problems as does Theism.

    If there is No Supreme God who imposes moral obligations and moral prohibitions on humanity, then no action nor event is ever really wrong. We are just under the delusion that rape and murder and child abuse are all really wrong when they really arn’t.

    On Theism – The best moral position for any person is to be reconciled with God. There is no basis to believe that everlasting conscious torment is morally good or best for any person.

    An Eventual Universal Reconciliation between Creator and Creature appears to be the best moral position.

    • Sophotroph

      A Simple Google Search would trivially disavow you of these notions, but as you seem to have a Strange Fascination with Arbitrary Capitalization…

      • Craig

        A Simple Google Search would trivially disavow you of these notions ??

        • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

          Well, with a bit of guidance. You might start with the Euthyphro dilemma–wherein Socrates, of all people, dismantles the very argument you’re making–and work from there.

          • Craig

            My background is in philosophy and so I know it well.

            Say God said that we ought to commit rape because that was good to do, then would you have an objective standard of morality to judge God’s ought as being objectively morally wrong ?

            No.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            But said God would only be able to assert his moral ruling, likewise, arbitrarily unless he himself is responding to a prior definition of moral goodness.

            The Euthyphro has two prongs. That’s what makes it a paradox.

          • Craig

            Human Beings are in the same paradox.

            Either they are appealing to an external moral standard or arbitrarily making up moral oughts and ought nots based upon their desires and preferences and then… might makes right because the more powerful gets to rule and impose their oughts and ought nots upon others.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            It’s only a paradox for us if we vainly desire to have an objective answer to all moral quandaries. If such does not exist because it can’t (it is an incoherent proposition, akin to wishing for the existence of married bachelors), then the only problem is people trying to reach for that impossible thing. If you let that desire go, so goes the paradox, because it turns out for non-God entities there is plenty of space between “objective” and “arbitrary”.

            The element I will attack, then, is the idea that such morality as produced by humans is arbitrary. Unlike a deity or any other single source of purported morality, humans come by their moral ideas intersubjectively, and so can rely on consensus building (humans, when asked, tend to report consistent moral sentiments and agreement about those sentiments) and independent convergence (humans, without coming into direct contact with one another, tend nonetheless to converge on certain moral sentiments and agreements) as a reason to doubt that the decisions being made are truly arbitrary. A god that consults with nobody on how to form his morality has no such out.

          • Craig

            At the bottom of your words are the values of empathy, well-being, and the survival of the species.

            However, there is no moral obligation for the species to have well-being nor to survive and thus there is no moral prohibition against it being destroyed.

            You have no objectivity just subjective desires and preferences.

            You have no basis to condemn anyone on the planet as doing anything really wrong.

            You can condemn them as doing wrong in relation to your values and those who share your values and that is far as you can go.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            You can condemn them as doing wrong in relation to your values and those who share your values and that is far as you can go.

            You talk like that’s some sort of problem. But that’s all we’ve ever had, and it’s worked OK so far; we argue about our values, and consensus about some key elements is, indeed, hard-won. In your world, it seems like the activity of moral suasion has no weight whatsoever, which is bizarre seeing as how you are engaged in an argument about morality right now.

            Morality is a hamburger. You seem to be arguing that since it isn’t the perfect hamburger and it won’t solve a person’s hunger forever, it is useless. I say, in response, we gotta eat, and I’m hungry now, and after I eat it I will be sated for a time, and that is better than being hungry. The desperation for the perfect is always the enemy of the good, and in the end it makes folks like you denigrate the very real achievements we have made simply on the basis that they do not solve all problems, answer all questions, or dictate what is the proper course a hundred percent of the time. I submit that that is a particularly unhelpful way of coming at the world and its complexities.

          • Craig

            In other words you are only whining to me.

            If you guys realised that if you were right …. then none of it make any difference in the whole scheme of things. We all end up dead in the grave.

            Why are you trying to argue with me ? Why ? Why all these posts ? What difference does it make ?

            Go whine and bitch to someone else.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            If you guys realised that if you were right …. then none of it make any difference in the whole scheme of things. We all end up dead in the grave.

            Your sudden hostility is a real clue that I hit a nerve.

            The idea that individual humans do not, indeed, have any sort of enduring or ultimate value is utterly terrifying to you, isn’t it? The idea that value can be finite, or temporary, and still matter to those who, like us, are finite and temporary, is just too much of a stretch?

            I’m not whining, I’m just perplexed by your all-consuming terror of the idea that one day, even you shall pass away, and there will eventually come a day when your existing will not matter anymore. You can lament that and make up all sorts of reasons to believe, against available evidence, that there is something permanent and enduring to every human life, but that is just existential panic and actually useless for confronting the here and now.

            More productive would be to pass through those childish desires and come to grips with what value you do have, which is here and now, finite and temporary but mattering to you and those around you. Don’t hope in vain for cosmic relevance; work for relevance to your neighbor, friends, family.

          • Craig

            No. My hostility is that you are getting to be a pain in the ass because this cannot go anywhere. It can only go post after post after post and not go anywhere at all.

            You are now trying to Psychoanalyze me by writing …

            || The idea that individual humans do not, indeed, have any sort of enduring or ultimate value is utterly terrifying to you, isn’t it? The idea that value can be finite, or temporary, and still matter to those who, like us, are finite and temporary, is just too much of a stretch?

            I’m not whining, I’m just perplexed by your all-consuming terror of the idea that one day, even you shall pass away, and there will eventually come a day when your existing will not matter anymore. You can lament that and make up all sorts of reasons to believe, against available evidence, that there is something permanent and enduring to every human life, but that is just existential panic and actually useless for confronting the here and now. ||

            I am actually not in terror ( far from it ) but if I was it would not matter on an atheistic worldview.

            Why ?

            Because no matter what we believe and do in this life and no matter what beliefs we hold to or don’t hold to ( religious or non religious ) it would all end up the same. Namely, we all die and life just ends at the grave. That is it for every single one of us.

            You assume it all really matters when you write …

            || More productive would be to pass through those childish desires and come to grips with what value you do have, which is here and now, finite and temporary but mattering to you and those around you. ||

            All you are to telling me is… Adopt my values and it would be more productive. End of story

            No need to keep at it.

            Too bad Disqus does not have a block button so I could block you.

            2 – 3 posts from people is enough but you just don’t want to stop.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            Too bad Disqus does not have a block button so I could block you.

            It does have a block button.

            I will say that merely not wanting to continue a conversation (and a short one at that) is a particularly pathetic reason to block someone, but hey! That’s merely my opinion. Smells like existential terror, but maybe it’s just cowardice; can’t tell from out here, only you know which it is. I prefer most of the time to assume the less nasty possibility. Lots of luck figuring out where the block button is, though. You can figure that part out on your own.

          • Sophotroph

            It doesn’t have to go in circles. You seem to equate godlessness with meaninglessness. I’d surmise it’s because, from a position of being focused on ultimate meaning, the meaning we make for ourselves seems insignificant. That misperception disappears, however, if there never existed any ultimate meaning to compare it to.

            Human meaning, proximate meaning, while not significant on the cosmic scale (thus far), commands the attentions and actions of every single human on this planet to a large degree.

            When we decide that something is meaningful to us, we give that concept power. Think of how angry some people get at flag burning. It’s enough to make even some people who really should know better twist their definition of “free speech” until it excludes speech they personally don’t like.

            I don’t know what scale you’d measure it on, but it’s not nothing.

            The actions you take during your life will influence thousands or millions of people. Everybody you know is influenced by you, and by extension so is everybody they know, and so on. For as long as human civilization carries on, your influence will exist as a ripple in causality that (hopefully) results in some net reduction of the total suffering per capita of the human race over the duration of its existence. It’s not quite karma, but we all still feel the effects of Dr. Jonas Salk’s ripple, for example.

            We’re tiny sacs of salty slime flopping around a water planet, trying not to rupture our sacs while we push them, sleep-deprived, through 40+ hours of pointy garbage every week. Most of us will never cancel a freakin’ epidemic, but if one man can alleviate that much suffering, there’s hope for the rest of us.

            If we can keep from nuking ourselves, the next technological age is going to be surreal. We’ll likely conquer death. We may discover a way to cheat through the lightspeed barrier, and if not, we’ll have ships the size of cities, built in space, that can take the journey the long way and keep the passengers entertained the whole trip.

            We might even discover a way to become cosmically significant. To create ultimate meaning. Who knows?

            But we won’t know if we don’t try, and that’s more than enough meaning to keep me going.

          • Craig

            There is noting really wrong if North Korea bombs you because life is objectively meaningless.

          • ElizabetB.

            well written

          • Craig

            There is noting really wrong if North Korea bombs you because life is objectively meaningless.

          • ElizabetB.

            I like the criterion described in answer to Linda, below, from Gordon Kaufman. Thanks, Craig.

          • Craig

            Uh ?? … you wrote to Sophotroph and said their post was well written. I wrote … ” There is nothing really wrong if North Korea bombs you because life is objectively meaningless ” to show you that it wasn’t.

          • ElizabetB.

            Thanks, Craig. I love Sophotroph’s creative, thoughtful exploration of the significance of a human life.

            My Kaufman reference was to say that I prefer Kaufman’s criterion to a human desire and preference that there must be an Objective Reality – that there must be something “external to us to make it really wrong” – otherwise, “There is nothing really wrong if North Korea bombs you because life is objectively meaningless.”

            Reading these comments, it sounds like the idea of an Objective Morality is itself a human preference based on human preferences – for example, how do we know the contents of that Objective Reality? “We live life and we just know and see and intuit that some actions are morally wrong – really wrong.” That’s a human judgment, no?

          • ElizabetB.

            p.s. This is reminding me of the Nominalists vs the Realists — I don’t think that controversy ever got settled to everyone’s satisfaction! : )

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t. Does it matter to you? Why does it?

          • Craig

            Thus – It would not matter if it matters to me or it doesn’t matter to me.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            Who, exactly, is this moral law giver? Please be specific ( i.e. if you say God, which God).

            You speak of objective morality? What, exactly is objective morality, and where can find/read it?

            Are you a Christian? Do you believe the Bible is the Word of God? Do you believe the Bible contains moral precepts, teachings, and commandments? If yes, yes, and yes, has your God ever changed its mind?

          • Craig

            Bruce, you wrote the article and you don’t know the arguments surrounding this subject ?

            That seems odd !!

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            I know the arguments quite well. I also can smell philosophical bullshit from a mile away. What I am asking you to do is state your religious/theological presuppositions. That shouldn’t be too hard to do, Craig. That way we can get to the crux of the issue. Is YOUR God the moral lawgiver? If she is, where might we find this standard of objective morality you speak of?

          • Craig

            By Objective I mean not dependent upon our personal desires and preferences but that which stands independent of our personal desires and preferences.

            The crux of the issue is…. that if actions like rape and murder are objectively wrong, then we infer from that…. that a Supreme Moral Authority must exist.

            People do live as though rape and murder are objectively wrong actions. People seek justice when one of their loved ones has been murdered.

            People don’t say …

            ” Oh.. Well.. Murder is not in accordance with our particular desires and preferences “.

            Rather, they normally think and say things like .. ” What was done to my family member and loved one was really wrong and I hope the person who hurt them rots in jail. ”

            People go to court seeking justice because they believe that something truly wrong has taken place and they want justice.

            So.. This has nothing to do with faith based morality nor a religious text. Rather, it is looking at our moral intuition and conscience in our moral experience and inferring from that an objective moral prohibition against certain actions ( like murder ).

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            And I am asking you WHO that moral authority is? Surely you can answer simple questions, yes?

            You are being disingenuous when you say this has nothing to do with religion or a religious text. The fact that you refuse to answer my questions and, instead, continue to march around the philosophical mulberry bush is telling. Others might play this game with you, but I won’t. I’ve found that a great amount of time can be wasted in such discussions only to find out the person is a Christian who believes their God is the moral lawgiver and the Bible is the objective standard of morality. Life is short, so I try to get to the crux of a matter as soon as possible. No need to invest time in philosophical wrangling that leads to no conclusion.

          • Craig

            A Supreme God. I am not appealing to any specific God in this particular instance.

            It could be erjbgfrufrouihiou4h4 God.

            Your question is a Red Herring because you are attempting to divert from the crux of the issue ( which I stated last post ) to try and get into a discussion on which God I believe in etc…

            Your dishonest because you are not really wanting to discuss the main issue but you are wanting to try and argue about specific Gods. And I suspect in your case you want to try and argue with me about the Christian God and the Bible.

            As you write ….

            || I’ve found that a great amount of time can be wasted in such discussions only to find out the person is a Christian who believes their God is the moral lawgiver and the Bible is the objective standard of morality. ||

            You are not interested in discussing morality ( moral oughts and ought nots ) but you are just trying to argue against faith.

            You’re dishonest and have engaged in Red Herrings.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            No, I value my time.

            I see the same sort of argumention from creatinists. They will go to great lengths to hide the locus of their beliefs.

            I wish you well, Craig.

            Bruce

          • Craig

            I believe in the Christian God.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            So then, your God, and your God alone is the lawgiver. As a Christian, you believe God reveals himself to humankind through creation, conscience, and revelation — the written words of God, the Bible. If your God is the lawgiver, why did he give Moses two different versions of the Ten Commandments? If God is morally perfect, has she ever changed her mind? In the Decalogue, God’s elect people are commanded to remember the sabbath and keep it holy. Why doesn’t this involiable law apply to Christians today? There are hundreds and hundreds of God-given laws in the OT that are not in the NT. Are these law still in effect and morally binding? If God’s law is the objective standard of morality, shouldn’t the United States become a theocracy, using only the laws of God as its legal code? If no, are you suggesting that there are laws (morality) that exists apart from the lawgiver?

            I could pose questions like this far longer than you could stand to read them. Let me boil things down to this: for arguments sake, I believe in your God. What, exactly, is his objective standard of morality? OT?NT? Both testaments? Certain verses, rightly interpreted (which means God’s objective morality is contingent on human action)? You would agree that it would be best for the human race if everyone knew, understood, and obeyed God’s objective moral standard, so where exactly are these laws? I would think instead of making philosophical arguments, you would want everyone to clearly know what God expects of them. This, however, raises another problem. You demand that everyone keep your God’s objective moral standard, yet the book wherein this standard is found says humans can’t keep it. This seems to me to be an unanswerable conundrum.

            I understand why you prefer to make philosophical arguments. Such arguments allow you the freedom to twist and turn at will. However, as a Christian, you are bound to the teachings of the Bible, and this limits your arguments to what Is found within its pages.

          • Craig

            Boom !! I told you I believe in the Christian God to prove something to you.

            See how you are launching your attack against the Christian God and the Bible ??

            That is my point to you. It is all a Red Herring.

            If the Bible was proved completely False, then that would not mean that there is no Supreme God who imposed moral oughts and oughts nots upon humanity.

            My argument IN NO WAY begins with the Bible. Rather, it begins in our ordinary everyday moral experience. We live life and we just know and see and intuit that some actions are morally wrong – really wrong.

            What best explains that ?

            An objective moral prohibition that is within us or is it nothing more that a result of socio biological processes and nothing more ?

            If it is a result of the evolutionary process only and nothing more than that, then murder cannot be really wrong. There would be nothing external to us to make it really wrong.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            Nope, it was an attempt to flush out your presuppositions. That you claim to be a Christian, yet deny the source of your morality is that God and his Word is astounding,.

            Time for me to jump off your crazy train, Craig. Dozens of comments directed your way, yet you reject everything that’s been said and refuse to answer questions. *sigh*

            I do wish you well, Craig. If you want to engage me in a discussion on these issues from a theological/textual perspective, please look me up on my blog.

            Bruce

          • Craig

            The Bible nor any other religious Book would be the source of morality.

            The Supreme God would be the Source of Morality.

            If Christianity was proven false, then it would not follow that a Supreme God does not exist.

            My moral argument begins in our moral experience and infers objective moral obligations ( oughts ) and objective moral prohibtions ( ought nots ).

            As I said last post, Bruce…

            My argument IN NO WAY begins with the Bible. Rather, it begins in our ordinary everyday moral experience. We live life and we just know and see and intuit that some actions are morally wrong – really wrong.

            What best explains that ?

            An objective moral prohibition that is within us or is it nothing more that a result of socio biological processes and nothing more ?

            If it is a result of the evolutionary process only and nothing more than that, then murder cannot be really wrong. There would be nothing external to us to make it really wrong.

          • Mogg

            You seem to be a) getting things the wrong way around and b) leaving out some steps in your working. Why does an individual or a species require a *moral* obligation to survive? We (usually) want to survive. Morality and a desire for well-being are things that come from wanting to survive, not the other way around. And yes, there is no objective morality. You need to show more steps from there to “subjective morality is arbitrary”, though, seeing as much of it clearly isn’t. I’m quite happy to say that rape and murder are wrong and confident that the vast majority of humans will agree with the basic premise. That is not a description of something that is arbitrary.

          • Craig

            Right. And because there is No moral obligation on us to survive, then it follows that there is no moral prohibition for us not to be destroyed.

            You may not like rape and murder but can you say that are really wrong actions that ought never be performed ? No. No you cannot say that.

          • Mogg

            Of course I can. Rape and murder are really wrong actions that should never be performed. See? I just don’t require that statement to come from some mystical storehouse of morality outside of humanity and existant for all time.

            I think you are confusing survival and destruction in general with survival and destruction as caused by human (or intelligent) agency. I am quite okay with the fact that humanity and I myself will one day be no longer. But the way that happens matters to me, as it matters to most humans.

          • Craig

            They are your personal preferences and desires.

            You are unable to show that they are objectively wrong. They are just wrong in accordance with your desires and preferences.

            It is like saying No one should eat meat because I find it disgusting.

            Note: Don’t try and speak for all humans because at the moment North Korea does not give a crap about you.

          • Mogg

            But they are not my *arbitrary* preferences and desires, nor are they entirely personal given that almost all humans share them. I may have personal twists on them, but the basic source is due to my being a human. I don’t need it to be *objectively* wrong.

            Some people do think we should stop eating meat. I am not particularly moved by someone else’s feeling of disgust, because lots of things are disgusting but necessary, or even good. I might be moved if someone could convince me to extend my sense of empathy to encompass the idea that killing animals for food is murder. Nobody has so far, but I recognise that the argument comes from the same basic root as my own morality. Which brings us to North Korea. Of course they don’t care about me – I am Other to them, and humans are really, really good at making those outside their chosen group Other, and therefore rapeable or murderable (or that what you do to “Them” doesn’t count as rape or murder, to put it differently). But none of that makes morality objective. It just points out that subjective morality has limits and flexibility. If anything, it is evidence in favour of that “survival” base you obhor.

          • Craig

            You are giving description but you cannot give prescription.

            You are unable to say that this really ought to be done or this really ought not to be done.

            You have no objectivity and no one actually lives as though there is no objectivity. No one.

          • Mogg

            So? Just because we tend to live as if something is completely set in stone doesn’t mean it actually is – it may be a localised effect, and humans tend to set up rules in our heads because it is easier than having to think our way through something every time, not just for complicated issues like morality but for all kinds of processes. I just don’t get why that’s such an issue to you.

          • Craig

            If someone came into your home and brutally raped and tortured your family members, then you are going to want to say that what happened to your family members was wrong – really wrong and you would want justice.

            You can’t say those actions were really wrong on your worldview. It is absolutely impossible.

            Why ?

            Because on your worldview, it is all based in subjective desires and preferences.

            There is nothing objective. The society can lock the person up who brutally raped and tortured your family members. He is being locked up for not having done anything really wrong.

            Ir is all subjective in relation to desires and preferences.

            No one actually lives that way ( as thought it is all based in desires and preferences ). People do live as though certain actions like rape, and murder, and child abuse are really wrong actions.

            In other words… people live as though moral realism and moral objectivity is true.

          • Mogg

            And yet here I am saying it. Just because you don’t agree with my reasons for doing so doesn’t mean it is impossible.

          • Craig

            You can say anything you want.

            On your position you can say… ” I don’t like rape ” but you can’t justify it as being objectively wrong because objectively wrong does not exist on your worldview.

            It is all subjective desires and preferences on your worldview.

          • Mogg

            I don’t need it to be objectively wrong. That’s the point. I only need it to be wrong according to me and most of those around me.

          • Craig

            Right… then so you have no basis to condemn any rapist, murderer, nor child abuser as having done anything really wrong – just wrong “in relation to” what you subjectively prefer and those around you who subjectively prefer what you do.

            So, ISIS is not doing anything really wrong. They are acting in accordance with their subjective preferences.

            North Korea is not doing anything really wrong if they bomb any country because they are acting in accordance with their subjective preferences.

            Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany never did anything really wrong because they were acting in accordance with their subjective preferences.

            Preferences verses Preferences and no one doing anything really right or wrong just all subjective preferences.

            Uh Huh… you just keep believing that.

          • Mogg

            You keep making an unjustified and unexplained leap of logic. ISIS and North Korea and the Nazis are wrong because they are failing on the “everyone around me” part by not extending it far enough to include their victims. That *still* doesn’t make it objective wrong.

            In fact ISIS is a terrible example for you to use, because they are using what they think is an objective morality to justify their actions. If morality is objective, why does it look bad to you? I can judge it on lack of empathy and societal utility, but you can only accept that they are doing what they are obliged to.

          • Craig

            Too bad for everyone around you – LOL.

            In other words… the biggest group with the most clout gets to exercise their will to power and they are right by numbers and power.

            Exactly. Nazi Germany was bigger and more powerful that Poland and so they were doing right to exercise their will to power over Poland.

            There is no moral … “ You ought to show empathy ‘ that everyone universally has to appeal to etc..

            That is all just part of your subjective preferences.

            You haven’t thought this out very carefully. You are stuck in moral subjectivity and moral relativism.

          • Mogg

            *sigh* you are just not getting this, are you? That is not what I said at all. Quite the opposite, really – my preferences sometimes have to give way for others because I can recognise that they also have needs and feelings which may be more important than mine. In your model, they wouldn’t count. In mine they are an essential part of the equation.

            You didn’t answer why you think ISIS, with their supposedly objective morality, are wrong. However, I think we are not going to get any further in this conversation so I’m going to leave it here.

          • Craig

            Rather, I suggest that you are not getting it.

            You wrote …

            || Quite the opposite, really – my preferences sometimes have to give way for others because I can recognise that they also have needs and feelings which may be more important than mine ||

            That is all within your subjective system that is applicable to you and those who subjectively prefer what you do and not to those on the outside of your system. They have their own subjective system going.

            In my system – Murder is objectively wrong. Not killing. Killing can be justified at different times depending in certain circumstances. For example… if the United States bombs North Korea and innocent people die, then it is not with the intention of murder that they die. They are innocent bystanders.

            So, ISIS is wrong because murder is objectively wrong.

          • Mogg

            “That is all within your subjective system that is applicable to you and those who subjectively prefer what you do and not to those on the outside of your system. They have their own subjective system going.”

            And how is this not a complete description of how humans operate, if you add the caveat that humans have biological bases for certain mores such as murder, rape, consideration of other points of view and a concept of fairness? Seems pretty good to me.

          • Craig

            Human beings live as though some actions ( at least ) are really ( objectively ) wrong.

            Non one lives as though it is all just subjective preferences. I have never come across one person yet that.. when push comes to shove that they don’t believe some things are really wrong.

          • Tete Rouge

            Again, show me where your God forbids it?

          • Craig

            He does not condemn rape. He commands us to rape and murder etc..

            There is nothing really wrong with those actions is there ?

          • Tete Rouge

            To quote Penn Jillete, I do all the raping and murdering I wish!

    • mason

      “Atheism suffers from moral problems as does Theism.”

      Really? Atheism means only no belief in any God, disbelief in all the Gods. That’s it, in toto. There is no morality or morality to atheism. To attempt to do so is either ignorance or dishonest propaganda.

      “We are just under the delusion that rape and murder and child abuse are all really wrong when they really arn’t.”

      Really? Really! You mean you are so void of natural human empathy and morality that you see no wrong in rape, murder, and child abuse, without you having belief in some myth God? Wow!

      • Craig

        Empathy has No objective moral ought to it

        You ought to do X and not do Y.

        Why ?

        “ Well… Umm… because it will help us to survive. “

        “Why ought we survive ? “

        “ Well… Umm… because we want to. “

        So… it ultimately reduces down to humans wants and preferences.

        You cannot have good and bad and right and wrong and better and worse independent of human opinions, desires, and preferences if there is No Supreme God.

        I am not interested at all in basing morality on empathy, well-being, nor the survival of the species.

        Why ?

        Because all that is arbitrary based upon different people’s desires and preferences.

        Why ought we survive ?

        Do we have a moral obligation to survive ?

        Not on an atheistic naturalistic worldview we don’t.

        • mason

          Supreme God, Supreme Fuehrer, Supreme Totalitarian Dictator …. ah … now it’s clear from whence all your thoughts emanate. And it’s clear, and understandable why you posses no natural sense of morality or decency. You are guided by your Supreme.

          • Craig

            On your position – You cannot have any objective moral prescription for how humans ought to behave.

          • Tete Rouge

            Have you seen the prices of the Supreme clothing range…nothing moral about that!

        • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

          So… it ultimately reduces down to humans wants and preferences.

          Considering it is humans doing the living (both with themselves and each other), it seems to me that this is a very good thing; why would some other being who is not directly affected by the behaviors of humans be better for determining how humans ought to behave? And since the near-consensus views of humanity on the moral evils of murder, rape, theft, and torture for themselves, there is enough when rubbed together with the human skill of empathy to sustain a morality that strongly encourages people to avoid those behaviors.

          • Craig

            On your position – You cannot have any objective moral prescription for how humans ought to behave.

            People may not like murder but there would be nothing really wrong with it.

          • Anri

            This is a very significant assumptive jump – that something not having an objective moral stricture means it is acceptable behavior. Please show your work.

            While you’re at it, please let us know a definitive method to determine between an objectively moral stricture and all other kinds. If you cannot do that, your argument obviously has no real-world use.

            Lastly, were such a test of objective morality to demonstrate that holding other humans as slaves was not only morally acceptable, but a positive good, would you enslave others? Consent to be enslaved? If you refused, on what grounds would you do so?

          • Craig

            Keep in mind that all of you guys trying to argue against me are arguing from a position where nothing can be really ( objectively ) right or wrong.

            What makes something wrong ? Harm ? What make harm wrong ?

            You guys will try and argue for empathy, well-being, and the survival of the species.

            Why ought we survive ? Is there any moral obligation for us to survive ?

          • Anri

            Unless you can demonstrate that objective morals exist, and that you can discern them, and that they are preferable – in whatever way you can prove they are – to anything else, I see no need to avoid using what we do have to make decisions as thinking beings about morality, such as empathy.

            Objectively demonstrate that objective morals exist, objectively show you can differentiate them, and objectively show that they are superior, or recognize that you are operating off of as much of a subjective platform as anyone else.

            I run into this all the time:
            “I will only accept objective morality!”
            “Ok, how do you demonstrate a moral point is objective or not?”
            (crickets)

            If you can demonstrate an objective moral framework, do so. If not, stop insisting I kowtow to it.

          • Craig

            What do you think people mean when they talk of objective morality ?

          • Anri

            I keep asking but can never get a clear, objectively demonstrable definition.
            I’m not the one putting the idea forward as important, so it’s not for me to say.

            In my experience, functionally, it’s equivalent to “stuff they really, really wanna be true”. But I’m always willing to surprised.

            I assume you:
            a) have such a definition, and
            b) can objectively demonstrate the truth and exclusivity of it.

            …right?

          • Craig

            What I suggest is … that you go away and research it. You need to do your homework.

            There are many websites that will explain it. I am not going to do 20 – 30 posts on here trying to explain it to you.

          • Anri

            Will you accept whatever google results I select, or are there only certain ones I should accept as true?
            I am, after all, trying to figure out what you are arguing for as objective morality, not what Some Random Dude On The Internet thinks it is – unless you’re perfectly happy with assuming you and he are in agreement.

            I have had a number of discussions on this topic, and I’ve already told you what my research so far has turned up: the vast majority of people arguing for objective reality can’t define or demonstrate what they are arguing for, and the rest almost always end up at “A Wizard/Deity Did It” with no objective justification for their particular choice of wizard/deity.

            You’re under no obligation to engage with me on the topic, of course, and if you ask me to drop it, I will. If you’d like to point me towards a source you’d consider authoritative, I’ll be happy to look it over.
            But until then, I see no reason to differentiate you from the other people I’ve had this discussion with who couldn’t/wouldn’t answer my questions either.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            There are many websites that will explain it. I am not going to do 20 – 30 posts on here trying to explain it to you.

            Then you probably shouldn’t have started the conversation in the first place.

          • Lark62

            I think people are full of shit when they claim to speak of “objective morality.” They consciously or unconsciously made up their moral system then tried to force it on everyone by declaring it to come from their invisible friend.

            The rest of us can see through this just like when an 8 year old kid tells mom “Dad said it is okay for me drop out of school and have candy bars for dinner and keep a pony in my bedroom.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            You do not know my position, you know only there is one position that I reject.

            I do not believe that “objective moral prescription” is a coherent concept, because it presupposes the existence of a meaningful moral agent situated in an objective viewer position. Even most gods (including the Christian one) fail to occupy such a position as generally described, and so even if there were a god, the idea would probably remain incoherent.

            Morality is about normative rules governing the interaction of subjective entities. Most actual moral rulemaking is done via a two-step process; recognizing one’s own interests, and then generalizing those interests to others via empathy and/or enlightened self-interest. The vast majority don’t like the idea of being a victim of theft or assault or rape or murder, and so endorse systems that make those behaviors less common, so that they are less likely to be a victim. That people “do not like murder” is literally what makes it wrong; there is a consensus that people do not like to be murdered, and the best way to achieve this is to disdain murder on a moral level and endorse governance and social protocols that reinforce that judgment.

          • Craig

            There are no objective moral oughts and ought nots on your position. The only moral oughts and ought nots are the ones that people make up based upon their desires and preferences.

            If a particular society changes its view on paedophila in the next 50 years and thinks it is good and passes laws for it, then paedophilia would be good.

            The same with murder. Those out of work and who are not mentally stable are taking up our resources and so let’s pass a law to put them to death in accordance with our preferences. And on and on it goes.

            You have no objective position as to condemn anything as actually being truly wrong.

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            That’s right, I possess no objective position. I can, like everyone else, only articulate a subjective slate of sentiments and desires. However, since we act within the contexts of societies, my subjective sentiment is collated with that of all other proximate actors, and the actual functional morality that applies to me is a result of that intersubjective process, the production of laws, mores, and norms.

            You undersell, radically, the sticky nature of social morality. It rarely changes so abruptly that a society that lionizes, like ours, concepts of consent would suddenly decide that pedophilia was morally OK. More fundamental things would have to change about the consensus of moral sentiment before that would be a morality the society we live in would be capable of endorsing. Murder is even harder; we can, under very controlled circumstances, make exceptions for killing (self-defense and war are the obvious examples) but simple civil murder? We’d have to rewrite not just the morality of murder but every other fundamental agreement about values before we’d be in a position to morally excuse murder as a general principle.

            And even though we can’t pretend towards perfect objectivity, it is not necessary to do so before we run into problems that are solveable that require us to affirm or reject specific moral models. For example, while we couldn’t come up with an objective way to reject legal murder, it is extremely difficult to imagine a society that could function with that moral determination as a bedrock principle. And so, it doesn’t matter that murder is bad objectively, as it must merely be toxic to the continuity of civilization for us to decisively reject it.

          • Priya Lynn

            Wrong. There is virtually universal agreement that happiness is preferable to sadness. Murder lessens the total happiness in the world so it is wrong.

        • alwayspuzzled

          “Do we have a moral obligation to survive?”
          Individual and species survival is probably an existential imperative, not a moral imperative. Evolution may select for certain types of moral obligation to the extent they contribute to the existential survival imperative of the species. Since, as a species, we now have the technological ability to destroy ourselves and all other species, maybe we will see what kind of contribution moral obligation is really able to make.

          • Craig

            If there is no moral obligation to survive, then neither is there any moral prohibition against being destroyed.

          • alwayspuzzled

            Maybe there is a difference between moral categories and predication on the one hand and existential categories and predication on the other?

          • http://127.0.0.1 3lemenope

            Especially since it seems to be that in order for there to be meaningful morality at all, an unavoidable prerequisite is the existence of moral agents. Without existing moral agents, if morality exists it would be trivial by definition, much like gravity in a universe that had no matter. So there is an existential priority to preserving the existence of moral agents in order for there to exist any moral predicates and entailments whatsoever.

          • Priya Lynn

            There is a moral prohibition against destroying others as it lessens the total happiness in the world.

          • Craig

            There is a moral obligation for everyone and for all time that they ought to contribute to the happiness of the world ?

          • Priya Lynn

            If you want happiness for yourself, it goes without saying you have to support happiness for everyone else.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            Since Craig is a Christian, the source of happiness is God, not individuals. God is the law giver, moral arbiter, and the First Cause. She is the alpha and omega, the first and the last, and that which the entire universe revolves. She is a cosmic abuser who beats us while saying,” I am going this so you will be happy.”

            Craig’s endless philosophical arguments are a smoke screen that hide his God. She’s there though. Peer deeply into the smoke and you will see her.

        • Priya Lynn

          “So… it ultimately reduces down to humans wants and preferences.”.

          And there’s nothing wrong with that.

          “You cannot have good and bad and right and wrong and better and worse
          independent of human opinions, desires, and preferences if there is No
          Supreme God.”.

          And there’s nothing wrong with that.

          “I am not interested at all in basing morality on empathy, well-being, nor the survival of the species.”.

          Then you are not interested in making society the best it can be for all in an equal fashion.

          “Why ? Because all that is arbitrary based upon different people’s desires and preferences.”.

          When it is based on people’s desires and preferences it is NOT arbitrary by definition.

          “Why ought we survive ? Do we have a moral obligation to survive ? Not on an atheistic naturalistic worldview we don’t”

          One ought to survive only if one desires to do so – in general there is no moral obligation to survive. Although one could make the case that if you have children dependent on you you have an obligation to survive to care for them.

          .

          • Craig

            Ought child abuse and child rape always be wrong for anyone and everyone to ever do and for all time ?

            Yes or No ?

          • Priya Lynn

            I can’t conceive of a situation where it wouldn’t be so, but with finite brain capacity and an inability to know all of the future. I can’t make absolute statements.

          • Craig

            Then thus far you hold onto an objective moral prohibition.

            Objective moral prohibitions are not possible if they are based upon the desires and preferences of people.

    • Linda_LaScola

      I’m unsure of your source of authority

      • ElizabetB.

        Very interesting to be reading tonight and see a theologian recently mentioned by Mark Rutledge ( http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rationaldoubt/2017/09/credo-locating-religiously-spiritually/ ) use “humaneness” — “expressions of the evolutionary-historical trajectory which has created human life and continues to further it” — as the criterion by which to judge which portrait of god is the True God : )

        “We must not forget, however, that other images of the divine have also been strongly emphasized in the Christian tradition: for example, God as the *absolute Lord*, the tyrannical power who arbitrarily saves whomever “he” chooses, and damns to everlasting hell whomever “he” chooses (Rom.9:10-24). Many today…are unwilling to fall down in worship before such a God as that. If this is so, why is it so? It is, I think, because we have made (whether knowingly or not), and we are prepared to keep, deep commitments to *humaneness* as a criterion to be used in identifying the True God. Precisely this criterion of humaneness and humanization has been given a prominent place in our construction here of a conception of God appropriate for today. The criterion may be formulated in this way: all attitudes and practices, institutions and ideologies, which help to create a more *humane order*, and an earth that can sustain it, are to be recognized as the present activity in human affairs of the True God (that is, as expressions of the evolutionary-historical trajectory which has created human life and continues to further it), and are thus to be supported; those attitudes and practices, institutions and ideologies, however, which create, support and promote *inhumanity* – that is, injustice and poverty and oppression, alienation and corruption, the destruction of the human environment – are to be regarded as anti-divine and to be opposed.” [Gordon Kaufman, *In Face of Mystery*, pp.407-8]

    • Tete Rouge

      “We are just under the delusion that rape and murder and child abuse are all really wrong when they really aren’t.” Care to point to where in the bible these (rape & child abuse) actions are condemned as being morally wrong? I’ll wait!

      • Craig

        I am not making any moral argument based upon the Bible nor any other Religious book.

        Religious Books have nothing to do with it. I am talking about moral realism and not faith based morality on a religious text.

        • Tete Rouge

          Disingenuous much? You’re saying objective morality comes from god, we only know what this alleged gods thoughts are through writings contained in the bible/Koran etc so yes you are making your argument based on a religious book.

          • Craig

            Wrong. We may know nothing specific about a Supreme God.

            If Murder is Objectively wrong ( and everyone lives as though it is ), then that is only possible if a Supreme Authority external to us has laid that Moral Prohibition upon us.

            That does not require us to know anything specific about that Authority.

            Your questions are motivated by dishonesty because you are trying to trap me. It is dishonest.

          • Tete Rouge

            Oh dear you are precious aren’t you.
            You do know there is no boogie man under the bed don’t you?

          • Craig

            When you’re honest and you want an honest discussion then come back.

          • Tete Rouge

            You would have to start by being honest with yourself.

          • Craig

            So, you being honest depends upon me being honest with myself ?

            Ummm.. try again.

          • Tete Rouge

            Deflection deflection deflection
            Oh and outright lies
            So yes your lack of honesty is an issue.

          • Craig

            That is the pot calling the kettle black.

          • Tete Rouge

            Quelle surprise a Christian divorced from reality

          • Priya Lynn

            Wrong. Murder is immoral because it results in less total happiness amongst people. If we want a society where we aren’t murdered we have to accept the social contract that we won’t murder others.

          • Craig

            || If we want a society ||

            If we want does not denote a moral imperative or obligation.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            Day three of the same track droning on and on. Atheists and other non-believers have made a good faith effort to answer your false assertions, even when they boarder on personal attacks of their character. (You are saying, based on your Christian understanding of morality, that atheists are immoral.) Commenters have gone out if their way to share with you how they understand morality and how they develop a moral framework by which they humbly and honestly live their lives. You reject all that has been written because it doesn’t fit in your philosophical/Christian box.

            What do you hope to accomplish here, Craig? Repeatedy saying the same thing gets you what? Your arguments are not new. In fact, it has been years since I’ve heard a new/novel argument for the existence of the Christian God — or any other deity, for that matter. Perhaps Solomon was right when he said there is nothing new under the sun, and perhaps we atheists need to heed the NT maxim that says, don’t cast your pearls before swine.

          • Craig

            You wrote …

            || based on your Christian understanding of morality ||

            That is a Strawman because what I have written has nothing to do with faith based morality on the Bible.

            I have truck loads of Calvinists and Arminians who hate me because I critique them and show them why they have it wrong.

            So.. you are barking up the wrong tree to try and attack me on Christianity and faith based morality in the Bible.

            You reject Christianity and so you don’t want to hear anything about a Supreme God existing because you have left that season of your life.

            If you read the atheists philosophers David Hume and Friedrich Nietzsche they would tell you the same sorts of things I have been.

            As the Atheist philosopher Bertrand Russell says ….

            “That Man is the product of causes that had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve individual life beyond the grave;

            that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins –

            all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.

            Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

            https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            I know you “think” you are arguing from a position independent of your faith, but I see it otherwise.

            Let’s say I grant your argument, that somewhere beyond Dorothy’s Rainbow there is a divine law giver. How does that, in any way, change how I live? I can admit that such a being exists and that it even makes known its laws (though you have not made any attempt to show how that happens or how we could even know it happens) to humans, and still live according to the humanistic ideal. What’s the penalty for not obeying/following the lawgiver’s law? Why should any of us care? Of course, we are still left with determining exactly what its laws are. How would I distinguish its laws from my own?

            I guess what I am asking is this: why should anyone pay attention to your arguments for the the existence of a lawgiver? If we ignore your arguments for the existence of a lawgiver, will our lives be materially affected in any way? Since this life is the only one we have, and there is no afterlife, I am at loss as to how it would benefit me to heed the lawgiver’s law. Since your viewpoint is independent of Christianity (so you say), there is no judgment or hell to concern myself with. I might as well follow the sage advice of Solomon: eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Why not, as others have posited, live a life filled with as much happiness as possible and do as much good as we can. Surely, that would be a “good” life.

            So, dear Craig, you have won. I am a convert to your Supreme God, as you called it above. Now tell me why this matters and why I should alter my life is any way.

          • Craig

            My background is in philosophy having studied it at two universities.

            I have studied Hume, Nietzsche, Camus, and Russell. All Atheist Philosophers saying that if there is No God then life is essentially futile and meaningless. And thus man has to construct his life based upon his desires and preferences and give himself meaning.

            Life will all still end at the grave no matter what one believes and does. Everyone gets the same result regardless of how they have lived.

            If, however, you do recognize on your conscience that child abuse and murder are morally wrong actions – really wrong and they should never be done, then you have accepted something that is objectively morally wrong and thus God must exist.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            Again, why does it matter if I accept your premise? What meaningful difference would agreeing with you make in my life? Why does it matter if accept “why” I think child abuse and murder is morally wrong, as long as I do? What does your belief about the existence of a Supreme God do for me or anyone, for that matter?

            You stated that you are a Christian. You also stated that all life ends at the grave. So, as a Christian, you don’t believe in the afterlife?

            I’ve had countless discussions with people who believe a God created the universe— young earth, old earth, theistic evolutionists. I take a similar approach with them as I have with you in this discussion. For argument sake, I affirm that someone can look at the night sky and conclude a God/higher power/divine entity/Supreme God/Lawgiver created the universe. While I am not a deist, I intellectually understand how deists come to the conclusions they do. The problem, of course, for those arguing that creation reveals to us the existence of a God, is that I see no possible way to get from there being A GOD to that deity being THE GOD. Sooner or later, the discussion must move from the notion of a generic, nondescript deity to religion and its specific Gods and beliefs. So it is with your arguments. Sooner or later, the discussion turns to which God is the lawgiver/creator. My money is on Zeus.

          • Craig

            || You also stated that all life ends at the grave. ||

            In this I was referring to atheism and life ending at the grave.

            My very first post ( which is in relation to your article ) explains my position and ongoing posts. Here it is ….

            Atheism suffers from moral problems as does Theism.

            If there is No Supreme God who imposes moral obligations and moral prohibitions on humanity, then no action nor event is ever really wrong. We are just under the delusion that rape and murder and child abuse are all really wrong when they really arn’t.

            On Theism – The best moral position for any person is to be reconciled with God. There is no basis to believe that everlasting conscious torment is morally good or best for any person.

            An Eventual Universal Reconciliation between Creator and Creature appears to be the best moral position.

          • http://brucegerencser.net/ Bruce Gerencser

            What evidence can you provide for the existence of everlasting conscious torment and the need for us to be reconciled with God? (A God, by the way, you have not defined, nor have you provided the means by which we are reconciled to this God. ) Since you most certainly have a specific God in mind, why not say so. If not, perhaps one of the other Gods created by humans would be a better choice. Let’s face it, the Christian God, based on Biblical revelation, is not a God worthy of emulation or worship. In fact, I’ve found this God’s followers to be far more moral than the God they worship. We should be very, very glad that most Christians are better than their God.

            You speak of universal reconciliation. If that indeed is the case, why then would any of the arguments you have made matter?

          • Craig

            My initial comments were in relation to and in response to your article, so obviously, I am referring to Christian Theism as your article does.

            I don’t believe in everlasting conscious torment.

            As I wrote in my initial post ….

            “ There is no basis to believe that everlasting conscious torment is morally good or best for any person. “

            As I also wrote …

            “ Atheism suffers from moral problems as does Theism. “

            So both have moral problems.

            In my many posts I have attempted to show that if there is No Supreme God, then no action can be really or objectively wrong. I have explained why.

            The following is in relation to Theism. As I wrote …

            On Theism – The best moral position for any person is to be reconciled with God. There is no basis to believe that everlasting conscious torment is morally good or best for any person.

            An Eventual Universal Reconciliation between Creator and Creature appears to be the best moral position.

            So, on Theism…

            IF it came down to everlasting conscious torment

            Or …

            An Eventual Universal Reconciliation between Creator and creature

            Then an Eventual Universal Reconciliation between Creator and creature appears to be the best moral position. And Note ! This is what I tell both Calvinists and Arminians.

            I have only drawn out moral issues in relation to both Theism and Atheism in relation it to your article.

            I am not evangelising for the Christian position nor have I made any formal argument for the Christian God.

            My comments would be the same if I was writing part of a philosophy essay ( as I did when I was an undergraduate in university ) and I was doing Philosophy of Religion.

          • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

            “If, however, you do recognize on your conscience that child abuse and murder are morally wrong actions – really wrong and they should never be done, then you have accepted something that is objectively morally wrong…”

            No. It could still be subjectively wrong. Just because I think something is absolutely wrong does not mean it absolutely is. I am the product of societal values, not of objective values. What I think is a moral absolute might merely be fashionably moral.

            “…and thus God must exist.”

            Non sequitur. Does not compute. Error. Error. First you have to show a god exists. Then you have to show this god cares about morality. Then you have to figure out what this god’s morality is. Then you have to show this god imposes its view of morality. And a god’s morality is still subjective, unless you can prove that this god’s morality exists even without this god – and then you have the problem that an objective morality is no longer the god’s morality, but rather a universal morality that is not bound by a god. You haven’t even got to the first step yet. If you get to the final step, you disprove your own point. Either way, you’re screwed.

          • Craig

            Very simply …

            Does the human species have a moral obligation to go on and survive?

            Yes or No ?

          • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

            Not as far as I know, but either way, what on Earth does that have to do with anything I wrote?

          • Craig

            You answered – ” Not as far as I know. ”

            Thus … it follows, therefore… that there is no moral prohibition against the species being destroyed. And that would include by murder and genocide.

            You may not like murder and genocide and other people may not like them but all that says is that persons or groups or societies A,B, and C don’t like them and according to their subjective values they judge them as wrong.

            On your position… you can condemn North Korea as doing something wrong [ in relation to ] your subjective values and that is as far as you go.

            However, they are not doing anything really or objectively wrong because for them they want to enforce their will to power in domination.

            Might makes right and the most powerful on the earth gets to dominate whether you like it or whether you don’t.

            All you can do is whine and complain about other people’s subjective values and judge them as wrong [ in relation to ] your values and that is all.

            On your position… life is essentially futile and meaningless and all life will finally end at the grave no matter what one has believed and done in their lifetime. It all ends up the same… whether you like it or whether you don’t.

    • Lark62

      Love your examples of absolute perfect morality.

      Perhaps you can share how you know that rape is wrong? Yes or no.

      Do you think child abuse is wrong? Yes or no.

      If your answer is no, you are repulsive and have no business talking to anyone about morality.

      If your answer is yes, why. On what basis do you determine that rape and child abuse are wrong?

    • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

      “If there is No Supreme God who imposes moral obligations and moral prohibitions on humanity, then no action nor event is ever really wrong.”

      Wrong. “Wrong” is a human construct based on societal values. Current western society says that slavery is wrong, therefore it is really wrong. In the 1st Century Roman Empire, slavery was not wrong, so it was really not wrong.

      As for your god, the Bible (and therefore your god) says that slavery is fine, yet I venture that even you would disagree and say that slavery is wrong. Therefore you must agree that society determines morality and that your god clearly does not impose moral obligations on humanity. If he did, you’d believe that slavery was fine and our current law would have to make slavery legal, because any god that is not able to impose his moral obligations on society is not really a god.

      The fact that you know slavery is wrong proves that morality does not come from a god. One more reason your god is not real.

      • Craig

        Very simply …

        Does the human species have a moral ought or obligation to go on and survive ?

        Yes or No ?

        • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

          Not as far as I know. What has that got to do with anything I wrote?

          • Craig

            You answered… ” Not as far as I know. ”

            Thus … it follows, therefore… that there is no moral prohibition against the species being destroyed. And that would include by murder and genocide.

            You may not like murder and genocide and other people may not like them but all that says is that persons or groups or societies A,B, and C don’t like them and according to their subjective values they judge them as wrong.

            On your position… you can condemn North Korea as doing something wrong [ in relation to ] your subjective values and that is as far as you go.

            They are, however, not doing anything really or objectively wrong because for them they want to enforce their will to power in domination.

            Might makes right and the most powerful on the earth gets to dominate whether you like it or whether you don’t.

            All you can do is whine and complain about other people’s subjective values and judge them as wrong [ in relation to ] your values and that is all.

            On your position… life is essentially futile and meaningless and all life will finally end at the grave no matter what one has believed and done in their lifetime. It all ends up the same… whether you like it or whether you don’t.

          • https://disqus.com/home/channel/atheismftw/ Ian Cooper

            “Thus … it follows, therefore… that there is no moral prohibition against the species being destroyed. And that would include by murder and genocide… All you can do is whine and complain about other people’s subjective values and judge them as wrong [ in relation to ] your values and that is all.”

            Yes. That’s all anyone can do. So what? You seem to think that this is somehow unrealistic or unacceptable. If the former, where is your evidence that there is some kind of objective moral code? If the latter, why do you think the universe has to conform to your desires? The universe doesn’t have to give a damn what you want.

          • Craig

            Why are you whinging ( whining ) and bitching to me if it is all subjective ?

            Piss off and go and whinge to someone else.

  • Nanci

    Why do you care?

  • ElizabetB.

    I can’t help being happy to learn about creeping universalism, whatever the motivation! and caveats : ) Thanks for the good news! ….The day’s Gerencser gospel?!

  • Anri

    Pointing out to (certain types of) the religious that they will feel great joy at the suffering of the damned when they are in heaven – given that they cannot feel sorry in heaven, and are witnessing god’s perfect judgment and all – is for some reason considered to be dirty pool.
    “How dare you point out the obvious logical conclusions of my stated belief!”

  • Lark62

    God spoke to me. There I was, bored silly at my kid’s soccer game with the sun burning the skin on my feet not covered Birkenstock sandals when she spoke to me.

    She wrote the bible as a lark, she said. It’s a test. And any pathetic brainless fool who thinks that genocidal, misogynistic, racist pile of steaming bovine excrement is true or worthy of praise is condemned to sing vapid praise music for all eternity.

  • runfastandwin

    “After being punished severely by a loving Savior” sounds like something form Law and Order SVU…

  • EquaYona

    What a douche. He didn’t even support his BS soteriology with some cherry-picked verses from the almighty BAAAAAHHHHHBULLLLL.