Atheism Fails Because There Is No Ultimate Justice?

Atheism Fails Because There Is No Ultimate Justice? November 4, 2015

Christian apologist Greg Koukl in a recent podcast (“Bobby Conway – Doubting toward Faith”) raised the issue of ultimate justice. With this topic, he thinks he’s found a winner.

I think the problem of justice is a double down for us because not only is there no justice executed in an atheistic worldview, which is trouble, but there is no justice in an atheist worldview in the sense that the word can’t get any traction. The word justice itself, which requires that there is a right and proper end for those who do what is wrong, entails objective right (justice) and objective wrong, which are categories which don’t even exist in a naturalistic worldview, so in a certain sense they have a double problem with the issue of justice. (@11:05)

Koukl identifies atheists’ “double problem” with justice as (1) there is no ultimate justice within an atheist worldview and (2) the word justice itself makes no sense without objective morality to ground it.

I wonder how many things are wrong in this one brief paragraph. Let’s count them.

Note that this isn’t the introductory paragraph to a longer discussion. This is Koukl’s entire argument, so I’m not strawmanning his position by responding to just this paragraph.

1. We can’t let Hitler get away with it … but is the Christian view any better?

The idea of Hitler starting World War II and then using suicide as an escape with no further consequences frustrates Koukl. If you do the crime, you should do the time. But Christians themselves don’t do the time. They claim that accepting the sacrifice of Jesus gets them a suspended sentence and a ticket into heaven, so what happened to justice?

Maybe that’s how it worked with Hitler. Hitler was raised Catholic. Suppose in his final hours in the bunker, he returned to his roots, accepted Jesus into his life, asked for forgiveness, and then pulled the trigger. He’d be up in heaven right now playing shuffleboard with Jesus, and to hell with justice.

2. God’s mercy conflicts with his justice.

Koukl likes to imagine everyone getting what’s coming to them. But God doesn’t do it that way. When God gives justice, we get what we deserve, but sometimes he gives mercy and we get less than what we deserve. So which is it?

Christians celebrate both mercy and justice, but they can’t apply at the same time.

3. God’s justice is not modern justice.

God’s primitive justice may have made sense in the time of Jesus, but it is ridiculous from a modern standpoint. God, the perfect judge, apparently is too dull-witted to conceive of anything but two options: perfect bliss in heaven and perfect torment in hell. That’s it.

That’s not “justice” by any definition used by people here on earth. “The punishment fits the crime” is something that we imperfectly strive for here on earth, but God doesn’t even bother trying.

4. There’s no evidence for objective morality or ultimate justice.

Koukl said, “The word justice itself … entails objective right and objective wrong, which are categories which don’t even exist in a naturalistic worldview.” Koukl is right, but while the Christian worldview does imagine objective morality, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

Look up morality or justice in the dictionary. There is no objective, ultimate, absolute, or transcendental anything in the definitions. Not only does the dictionary argue against him, but Koukl doesn’t make any meaningful case for objective morality. Admittedly, he didn’t have the opportunity to argue for objective morality here, but he’s had it in the past and provided nothing compelling. I’ve dissected Koukl’s childish view of objective morality in prior posts.

5. The claim is that Christianity is useful, but wishing it were true doesn’t make it so.

Koukl doesn’t like the atheistic or naturalistic worldviews, but he makes no argument that Christianity is true or atheism false. I think atheism as a worldview is invigorating and empowering, but Koukl is making no argument against the accuracy of atheism. At the top of my list of 25 Stupid Arguments Christians Should Avoid, was “The consequences of atheism are depressing.”

6. What’s the point? The Bible makes clear that we’re all good.

Paul said, “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). We’re tarred with Adam’s brush, but we’re made clean by the sacrifice of Jesus.

Paul says we’re all righteous, Hitler included. So much for Koukl’s justice.

Science has never killed or persecuted a single person
for doubting or denying its teachings,
and most of these teachings have been true;
but religion has murdered millions for doubting or denying her dogmas,
and most of these dogmas have been false.
— George P. Spencer

Image credit: Evan, flickr, CC

"That whole 'four corners of the earth' thing is a good start. FFS Sir Terry ..."

Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do ..."
"I still say: sound stage. How gullible do you think I am??"

Four Years After Obergefell: Has the ..."
"Agreed--maybe your honesty in discarding a poor argument is what made you an atheist."

Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do ..."
"No forgiveness = no more contact with him/her thus ignoring him/her, no for example lending ..."

Top 10 Most Common Atheist Arguments—Do ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Michael Neville

    Morality is always relative. In the 16th Century in highland Scotland it was estimated that 1 in 25 adult men were killed in blood feuds between clans. Until quite recently the Fore tribe in New Guinea thought cannibalism was moral and argued that not eating Grandpa at his funeral was immoral. 19th Century Mormons were polygamists (some still are). So Koukl is wrong, there is no such thing as objective morality.

    • MNb

      For some mysterious reason the content of the objective morality apologists talk about are always exactly the morals they hold – even if two apologists hold different morals.
      Slavery is objectively wrong!
      Or perhaps it’s objectively right.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobus_Capitein

      • And that’s a great thing about Christianity–you can always pick and choose to make a religion that fits your pre-existing prejudices.

        Ain’t God marvelous?

        • tsig

          I have never seen a god botherer whose god differs from them. It’s almost as if their god is a made up figure to give divine authority to their opinions.

        • Christians like to moan about how tough it is to obey God’s rules and walk the straight and narrow, but they do seem to get lots of comfort in God’s support for all their prejudices.

    • The question would be whether it’s relative descriptively or prescriptively. Morals do vary over culture and individual, no one denies that. Rather, they dispute whether this means there is no objective morality. I don’t think it necessarily does mean that, since the fact someone could be ignorant of that does not prove an objective morality false by itself.

      • Scott_In_OH

        This is of course logically true. Everyone could be wrong except for the single group that has it figured out. The problem is we can’t figure out which group is right. As a practical matter, that’s the same as having no right answer.

        • Some people do think they’ve figured it out. Whether or not they’re right is a matter of opinion, naturally. That doesn’t mean everyone is wrong though.

        • Scott_In_OH

          But we can’t know who’s right or even if there IS a right.

          To use Bob’s phrasing, even if there an objective right and wrong, it’s not reliably accessible to humans. That’s functionally the same as there not being an objective right and wrong.

        • How do we know that? I disagree with Bob on the issue, and wasn’t aware he’d said that.

        • Scott_In_OH

          We know it by observation. There exist many mutually exclusive claims about what is and isn’t moral, and many of those claims purport to be based on knowledge of an objective right and wrong.

          As you and se habla espanol have agreed, no more than one of those claims can be correct.

          On top of that, we have no way of determining which one that is or if a correct answer even exists. If it’s out there, we don’t have a way to figure out what it is. Hence Bob’s statement that it is “not reliably accessible” to humans.

        • How do we know that it cannot be determined? Perhaps we have simply just not figured that out yet.

        • Scott_In_OH

          Like I said before, it’s always possible. But so far, with billions of people trying for thousands of years, we haven’t gotten it.

          And note that this isn’t the same as saying, for example, we haven’t yet figured out how gravity works. What we HAVE developed is an approach for adjudicating among different claims about how gravity works. We have no such thing for adjudicating among competing religious claims.

        • We’re not talking about religious claims necessarily, but also secular ones. No, it’s not like gravity. I guess the first problem is to determine what “objective” means here. One idea that seems to be found across cultures is the Golden Rule. I’m not sure whether that qualifies though.

        • se habla espol

          If there are N versions of The Truth™, then at least N - 1 of them are wrong. We don’t know what N might be, but we do know that there are (as of May, 2015) over 45000 christianities and who knows how many other versions of The Truth™. That sounds like a good lower bound (although by no means a greatest lower bound).

        • What does that mean exactly?

        • se habla espol

          It means exactly what it says. What, exactly, are your questions? Is my elementary-school math-speak a problem for you?

          There is a problem that I need to address first. I can’t find my reference for the 45000 figure—the best references I can find give a figure of slightly over 43000 distinct christianities as of 2011 or 2012. Sorry ’bout that, chief.
          To get somewhat more exact, I need to use high-school math-speak:

          1) Each christianity has its own Truth™, based on its doctrines and other teachings. It’s obvious that whoever pays the preacher (pastor, priest, imam, rabbi, …) in money or power is the one that controls the doctrine; this is a trivial line of demarcation among the christianities—the ultimate destination of the take. The remittance structure for the take forms a bit of doctrine, a distinct item of Truth™ in the form “It is Right to remit our take to <wherever>.”

          2) there are, by a christianist census, over 43000 distinct christianities. This count does not necessarily include doctrinal control (remittance) differentiation as described in item 1). In many cases, per the census taker, it does not. Thus, there are more distinct christianities than the census counts.

          3) Arithmetic numbers—integers, rationals, and irrationals—have an ordering relation. In the presence of an ordering relation, a lower bound of an arithmetic quantity X is any number B such that B<X.

          4) For any set of distinct numbers with an ordering relation, there is a greatest member. For a set of integer lower bounds of some quantity, there is a greatest, which is called the greatest lower bound.

          5) Each christianity has a doctrine and remittance structure that is distinct from that of any other christianity (otherwise they would be the same one). This doctrine and remittance structure is The Truth™ for that christianity. Each follower of that christianity has his own understanding of his christianity’s Truth™. These may be equivalent to the christianity’s Truth™, or may differ therefrom but be equivalent to some other member’s understanding. Each such understanding is The Truth™ as far as the member is concerned. Thus, the number of distinct Truth™s exceeds the number of christianities.

          6) In any Aristotelian universe, where there are competing, mutually exclusive assertions, no more than one can be true. Take a set S of christianist Truth™s, s. Where the cardinality of S is N, no more than 1 s can be true and N-1 are not true, aka they are false.

          7) Since there are (using old figures and pretending they are exact: a pretence that doesn’t make a significant difference) 43000 mutually exclusive christianist Truth™s, at least 42999 are incorrect (i. e., false) and no more than 1 can be true.

          Note: many people conflate the distinct christianities, referring to a (possibly improper) subset as Christianity, sometimes distinguishing ‘denominations’, ‘sects’ or ‘cults’. I find that nomenclature to be inexact and misleading, and use the term ‘christianity’ to denote a doctrine, the organization that propagates and profits from the doctrine, the set of marks conned into supporting the wealth and power structure of the organization, and the practices by which the organization controls the marks.

          Is that exact enough for you?

          Edit: a coupla fixes for tpyos.

        • It would have been simpler to just say “Only one of them can be true.” Fair enough, and I’d agree with you.

        • se habla espol

          That would not be either exact nor correct. The proper statement is “No more than one of them can be true.”

        • All right, I can accept that as well.

        • Giauz Ragnarock

          I don’t know how we could establish anything as absolute objective morality without the magical thinking that one idea should be priviledged over others. Instead, we should realize that morality is relative and there is no short cut to making the case for what actions are to be taken with sound arguments and evidence for whatever situations and people come along.

  • JustinL

    Saying atheism “fails” because it offers no ultimate justice is like claiming someone driving a car is failing at flying. Atheism doesn’t attempt to offer objective morality and ultimate justice. Koukl’s religion does. And since not even the people within the religion can agree on it (let alone the other billions of people on the planet), I’d say his is the “worldview” that fails on this front.

    • Frank Turek gleefully points out that there is no morality within atheism. My response is similar to yours: neither does chemistry. This doesn’t show that atheism or chemistry is flawed.

      But of course, Christianity does have much about morality. And much of it sucks.

      Fail.

  • SteveK

    >> When God gives justice, we get what we deserve, but sometimes he gives mercy and we get less than what we deserve. So which is it?

    Which is it? This further demonstrates the fact that you have no idea what Christianity teaches about God. If you knew you wouldn’t be asking this question.

    >> Not only does the dictionary argue against him, but Koukl doesn’t make any meaningful case for objective morality.

    Dictionaries aren’t filled with arguments.

    >> Koukl is right, but while the Christian worldview does imagine objective morality, it’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

    More ignorance. You don’t have to believe that Christianity is true to know what it teaches.

    • Pofarmer

      You might try actually making some sort of argument.

      Ponder this though, SteveK.

      “Now let’s imagine that you say a
      prayer in this sort of universe. What difference does it make? God has
      his plan, and that plan is running down its track like a freight train.
      If God has a plan, then everyone who died in the Holocaust died for a
      reason. They had to die, and each death had meaning. Therefore,
      Holocaust victims could pray all day, and they would still die. The idea
      of a “plan” makes the idea of a “prayer-answering relationship with
      God” a contradiction, doesn’t it? Yet Christians seem to attach
      themselves to both ideas, despite the irresolvable problem the two ideas
      create.

      Godisimaginary.com

      You see, we know what Christianity teaches about God, and we know that each believer has their own personal theology. The problem is, it’s all contradictory.

      • SteveK

        What difference does prayer make? For starters, it makes a difference in the relationship.

        >> The problem is, it’s all contradictory.

        The solution to all the confusion is to go to the source to gain clarity. You say you know what Christianity teaches so apparently you’ve resolved the problem already.

        • Ron

          “The solution is to go to the source to gain clarity.” ~SteveK

          Who or what is the definitive source? And by what metric did you make that determination?

        • SteveK

          The early Christian writings are the sources that tell us what Christianity teaches about God.

        • Ron

          Which early Christian writings, specifically? And how does one go about authenticating what they teach about God?

        • SteveK

          You’d have to ask the historical scholars who study this stuff how they authenticate. I’m talking about documents that were formally canonized because they were already thought to be correct.

        • Ron

          “Because they were already thought to be correct” doesn’t sound like a very reliable methodology given that the followers of other religious texts make similar assertions when probed about the authenticity of their teachings. Which historical scholars did you consult prior to making your final decision on which religious faith to adopt? And how did you determine they were uniquely qualified to make pronouncements on the authenticity of the texts you finally accepted?

        • SteveK

          All you do is ask more questions. I’ll follow your lead and ask my own.

          Which people are making these similar assertions? Be specific and quote their assertions. Do you mean assertions without reasons, or do you mean assertions with reasons to support them? How did you determine they were similar assertions rather than unsimilar/weaker assertions that had less evidence/reasons to support them? What was your criteria for evaluating all these statements and how did you determine it’s the correct criteria?

        • Ron

          The reason I keep asking questions is because I’m trying to establish how you can know for certain that you’ve adopted the correct set of beliefs. I’ve posed these same questions to Mormons, JWs, and Muslims. Their answers usually include the following: divine inspiration/revelation, answered prayers, miracles, personal testimony, scriptural authenticity and scholarly consensus. Plus, the fact that they can just feel it deep down inside the bottom of their hearts. So once again, how did you navigate the competing truth claims to decide which one was correct?

        • MNb

          Historians don’t authenticate what any text teaches about any god. Historians authenticate what the authors and the readers opined about those gods.

        • tsig

          The were pronounced correct because they were thought to be correct.

          I’m getting dizzy going around in circles.

        • tsig

          Why did god quit talking to mankind? No new news in 2000 years is really old news.

        • Pofarmer

          Which relationship?

        • SteveK

          God and man.

        • Pofarmer

          You mean the relationship in your head.

        • SteveK

          The context of your original comment was that man could pray to God. Nice try.

        • Pofarmer

          The context of my original comment was about a common contradition within Christian beliefs, in fact, that ones kind of an obvious one, and it’s far from unique. But, as far as your relationship, you do know that there have been brain scan studies done right? You know that in the context of, say. buddhist meditation, the areas of the brain related to spatio/temporal awareness are activated. With Christisn prayer, the areas of the brain related to speech light up, the very same area that activate when you, say, read a book silently. You really are having s conversation with yourself

        • Does prayer work like Jesus says it does?

        • SteveK

          Sure.

        • “Ask and ye shall receive”–like that? The Templeton Study argues otherwise.

        • SteveK
        • That is the standard reply: pick and choose Bible verses to support your presupposition. And add in blanket declarations without biblical support, again in the service of one’s presuppositions.

          From the article:

          There is no chance of things we need not being in God’s will.

          That sounds like an overextended claim. Tell the guy who prayed for a new leg or the parents praying for a dying child that they didn’t need what they were praying for.

          How can you read this stuff?

        • SteveK

          Talk about your overextended claims. Pretending to know that God didn’t provide what was needed.

        • Sweet! I’ll have to remember that one next time I want to be a jerk at a debate: reserve the right to define all words the way I want to.

          Nossiree–the word “need” isn’t defined by the dictionary. SteveK controls the horizontal. SteveK controls the vertical.

          Let me know if you actually want to respond instead of parry.

        • SteveK

          I accept the dictionary definition just fine, thank you.

        • So then we can know that a person needs something?

          And now we’re back to where we were before: people with medical needs pray for those needs to be addressed. And very often nothing happens. Therefore, prayer doesn’t work.

        • SteveK

          People need something, yes. Need and want are two different things and you’ve conflated the two. You’ve incorrectly assumed they didn’t get what was needed because they didn’t get what they wanted.

        • So then we don’t understand the meaning of “need”? I wish you’d pick a side and stick to it.

          So you’re saying that the Army vet with one fewer legs than he went to Afghanistan with, who’s earnestly praying in the name of Jesus to be whole again, doesn’t actually need that leg–is that it? He just wants it?

          Must be sweet to be clairvoyant. I’m envious of you.

        • SteveK

          Per the dictionary… need = essential, necessary

          Obviously he wants what he wants. You were telling us what he needed. So there’s no need to be envious because you claim to be clairvoyant already.

        • You said that the dictionary definition of “need” was sufficient. I took that to mean that we ordinary humans can figure out if we need something or not.

          I’m sure the one-legged vet would say that he needs that other leg. You don’t like that example? Then pick another one where someone needs something–vaccine, food, clean water, whatever–and prays for it but doesn’t get it.

          God doesn’t answer prayers as promised in the NT.

        • SteveK

          >> I took that to mean that we ordinary humans can figure out if we need something or not.

          We do need something. Since the context here is Christianity, what do we need according to Christianity? I’ll pick as many examples from that context as you like.

        • The guy with one leg needs a leg. He prays. He gets nothing.

          Therefore, the Bible lies.

          The context is the meaning of the word “need.” Seems like Christianity has no problem handling that. You might, in your frantic desire to obfuscate the issue.

        • MNb

          Let me correct you.

          The guy with one leg thinks he needs a leg. He prays. He gets nothing. Hence he didn’t need it.

          You can’t beat teleology.

        • SteveK

          >> He gets nothing.

          Must be sweet to be clairvoyant.

        • Did I overstep? Thanks for pulling me back.

          You say you know of cases where prayer has restored limbs? Show me.

        • SteveK

          I didn’t say that. I don’t know about any cases. You said he got nothing. All we know is he didn’t get a leg. But nothing??

        • Susan

          All we know is he didn’t get a leg. But nothing??

          “He got some quality time with Jesus” is the point I assume you’re alluding to, though not actually getting around to making (probably because you have no idea how to defend it. You just accept it without question.)

          The trouble is you could say the same about a lamp post. If a guy prayed to a lamp post to get his leg back or to a lamp post for food for his starving children, the results would look the same.

          The Lamppostian would wave her hands and tell you to look deeper. The Lamp Post has spoken.

        • Despite your desperate attempts, the point remains: he needs a leg, he prays for it, and he doesn’t get it. The Bible is wrong.

        • SteveK

          Ironclad logic right there. I need this conversation to end.

        • Susan

          Ironclad logic right there.

          Bob’s point is very straightforward. He needs a leg, he prays for it and he doesn’t get it.

          Somewhere in the evasive murk of your responses, you seem to be suggesting that he doesn’t need a leg. He needs something else instead and gets what he needs, though you don’t say what that is, as conveniently, only your deity knows.

          The results seem indistinguishable from praying to a lamp post but you haven’t explained what the distinction is.

          Also, you haven’t addressed the food for starving children problem.

          Starving children need food. Unless you’re suggesting they don’t. You would have to make that case. Good luck with that.

        • Kodie

          It’s because religious people are so convinced that despair is a good thing, because, at its depths, one is bound to discover Jesus. As a species, we have brought about no other way to cope with the nadirs of life than to seize the opportunity to introduce those in despair to their imaginary friend, and from there, it’s all good. See how many Christian testimonials start with them being at rock bottom emotionally, and Jesus floating them above it all.

          That must mean – it always works, it’s the only way, and we can be fooled into believing that we don’t need anything else (because those real things are unavailable) because (start at the beginning) despair is ideal. If you invent the invisible multi-purpose comfort object, it doesn’t have to be manufactured, so it can be freely distributed to anyone, anywhere, unlike food, medicine, clothing, housing, prosthetics, education, etc. You can hand someone your invisible Jesus doll and still keep it for yourself, and it promises to deliver everything you “really” need, instead of all that costly material and services of the necessities for survival and life management. I mean, think of all the money they can collect every Sunday and hardly have to spend any of it on actual things. Economically efficient.

        • Susan

          Agreed. I wonder how anyone can look at the face of a starving child though, and think Jesus is providing them what they need.

          I’m frustrated that SteveK hasn’t even acknowledged my question. It occurs to me that he might not have read it.
          It’s possible that he’s blocked my responses. Remember when he decided to ignore me rather than answer questions?

          Would you mind asking him for me? I’d like to know for certain that he’s willfully ignoring my point rather than just unaware of it.

        • Kodie

          Done. I think he is ignoring me too, but I try.

        • I can imagine you do.

          One nice way to end it would be, “I see your point” or words to that effect.

        • tsig

          “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?”

          Looks like god is less than human.

        • Kodie

          How can someone look at a starving child and believe that Jesus is giving them what they need?

        • Susan

          Thanks Kodie. :-1 I know I overstepped.

          I appreciate it.

        • Susan

          Must be sweet to be clairvoyant.

          It doesn’t take clairvoyancy to notice the guy doesn’t get a leg.

          Also to notice how many starving children across history didn’t get food.

          So, what do the starving children get that’s better than food?

        • Kodie

          You’re the one who dictates that what he got is what your imaginary friend says he needs. How do you know?

        • tsig

          You’re the one channeling god here.

        • Kodie

          Fantasies like redemption or salvation are still fantasies, and I think you’d agree fantasy “needs” fall below realistic “wants” like food, shelter, water, health, and friendship. If your needs in life are not met, your idea is that you should welcome death and the next stage of your existence, unless you wronged the lord, in which case, you get even worse than a prolonged death from cancer, forever.

          No, what you want is more love than you get, and more life than you’re given, and pretend that it means more than some other shitty life without Jesus, because your suffering fulfilled someone else’s “needs” for you. According to Christianity, what you get is exactly what someone else in the sky thinks you need, and fuck you for complaining, see: Adam and mostly Eve.

        • MNb

          It’s irrelevant what the vet says. What’s relevant is what god says. He knows whether the vet needs a leg or can do without.

        • And ain’t that weird? Every single person who prayed for a limb to be restored didn’t actually need it.

          I’ll be a little more sympathetic to the argument when SteveK chops off both legs to prove that he didn’t need them.

        • Ron
        • I’m waiting for SteveK to do it so I can appreciate his argument.

        • Ron

          I suspect that future engagements with him would resemble this…
          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-C7U5m2KPFHk/VVEj1sAoDaI/AAAAAAAAI3U/ZEcQ8BW-No8/s1600/holy%2Bgrail%2B3.jpg

        • What are you gonna do–bleed on me??

        • Kodie

          It’s that nobody expects a limb restored and often come to terms with it that SteveK is attributing to what Jesus has to offer amputees, since acceptance (of god’s limits) is what they need. What other choice do they have? It’s not like other organisms grow their limbs back. It’s not like god created the whole universe from literally nothing, he can’t grow back someone’s fucking hand? We have to make machines so they can function? Being able to function, as humans have offered, not god, seems to be key to self-acceptance. Just because someone born with no arms learns to do everything with their feet doesn’t mean we don’t need arms… or why doesn’t god just stop making us with arms. Clearly, we’ve found it to be pretty simple to function without arms.

          It just seems like praying to god for what we need, and god deciding what we need seems to be, like, god decides we need him as a bridge to accepting circumstances… I’ll say it again, what choice do we have? If we’re going to die from a painful and lengthy disease, and humans have not developed a cure as yet, the only way to accept it is to accept that it is “god’s will,” and what you actually need.

          There is no god, there are only circumstances. Bad things happen sometimes, and if we want to live, we have to find a way to survive it in some emotionally well way. Religion is the organization propped up to assume the role of hero in advancing that goal.

        • MNb

          Actually there is one organ that Homo Sapiens is capable of regenerating ……

          http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/liver/regen.html

          And we don’t even have to pray for it!

        • TheNuszAbides

          at least we’re not in pre-sermon-on-the-mount times, when the legs would have to offend him first.

        • tsig

          Since god took the leg to begin with why should he give it back, better to go through life one legged than enter hell whole./apologist off

        • Susan

          need =essential, necessary

          So when people pray for food for their starving children, does that count?

          Has that always counted?

          Or is food not an essential?

        • TheNuszAbides

          not everyone
          a) is part of Bog’s “you get to eat” plan
          b) requires food to fulfill whatever Bogly plan in which they’re involved

        • MNb

          “So then we can know that a person needs something?”
          Of course we can. Just wait if you get what you prayed for. If you did you needed it. ‘Cuz teleology.

        • Well, when you explain it that way …

        • MNb

          Aw, come on BobS, it’s really simple.
          When you get what you prayed for it’s because you needed it.
          When you don’t get what you prayed for it’s because you only wanted it and made an overextended demand.
          See how nicely teleology works?

        • TheNuszAbides

          How can you read this stuff?

          with obsequious reverence and the most profoundest of wishful thoughts, of course.

        • Ron

          “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” ~Jesus (John 14:12-14, NLT)

          That looks like an ironclad guarantee to me. So either Jesus lied, Jesus was deluded, Jesus never said it, or there aren’t many true believers in the world.

          Take your pick.

        • SteveK

          What does “in my name” mean?

        • Ron

          It means using Jesus as an intercessor.

        • SteveK

          Who’s purpose is to always carry out the will of the Father.

        • Ron

          Read it again. It says you can ask for anything—twice. There are no restrictions or limitations.

        • SteveK

          I read it gain. Nowhere in this snippet of scripture does it say who Jesus is. You have to look elsewhere to discover that. I did that.

          I see you did that too to conclude Jesus is God incarnate but you didn’t keep going to discover *all* that this fact entails – like always carrying out the will of the Father. This is called cherry picking.

        • Ron

          I don’t need to look elsewhere to decipher what the phrase “in my name” means. A basic comprehension of English grammar is sufficient.

          Moreover, the book of Acts reports that early Christians were performing one miracle after another. Yet, today’s professing Christians are incapable of performing any</em miracles—let alone "even greater works" than Jesus performed—so they deny Jesus' promise instead.

        • SteveK

          Didn’t I say you need to look elsewhere for who Jesus is and all that this fact entails? Yes, I did.

          You need that information, but you refuse it. That’s your error.

        • tsig

          Since the Father wanted Jesus to die in order to carry out the salvation of mankind then the Roman soldiers who crucified him were carrying out gods’ will and the Crucifixion was a moral act.

        • TheNuszAbides

          it means the theologian of your choice can surely, unambiguously set us straight on the True Meaning. alternatively, it’s a terrifically subtle way of explaining why all kinds of things happen (or don’t happen, or cease to happen, or stay the same) regardless of whether or not anyone prays for them to happen (or etc.)

        • TheNuszAbides

          or there aren’t many true believers in the world.

          an easy sop for most of the Faithful mindsets i’ve ever encountered or held.

        • tsig

          What if I pray for A and you pray for -A, how does god decide?

        • SteveK

          He decides by using his intellect.

    • Robert, not Bob

      Re: justice and mercy. Just as with the Trinity, appealing to mystery by combining contradictory concepts doesn’t mean they aren’t contradictory.

      [Tommy Chong voice] “God is both fully just and fully not just. Wow, man!”

      And given over 30,000 denominations, saying “Christianity teaches-” anything is questionable.

      • SteveK

        Justice and mercy are not contradictory terms.

        • Susan

          Justice and mercy are not contradictory terms.

          Well argued. I hope you didn’t get a brain cramp from doing all that thinking.

        • Dys

          Under normal conditions they aren’t. However, perfect justice and perfect mercy are, by definition, mutually exclusive. Which means you can’t have a god that is perfectly both (unless you’re going for an illogical god, that is).

        • MNb

          Then explain what divine justice and mercy mean in the case of Rudolf Höss and his 1,5 million jewish victims. See above.

    • MNb

      “If you knew you wouldn’t be asking this question.”
      But it’s too much of an effort for you to tell us what you actually know? Doesn’t exactly make you look good.

    • Michael Neville

      What does Christianity teach about God? First, define which Christianity are you talking about? Westboro Baptist? Catholic? Sedevacantist Catholic? Wisconsin Synod Lutheran? Missouri Synod Lutheran? Evangelical Lutheran Church in America? Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada? Anglican? CAMA Anglican? Methodist? Plymouth Brethren? Etc., etc., etc.

      Once you’ve got that sorted out, then we can talk about what that particular flavor of Christianity teaches about God.

      • Ron

        Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump.

        I said, “Don’t do it!”
        He said, “Nobody loves me.”

        I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”
        He said, “Yes.”

        I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?”
        He said, “A Christian.”

        I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?”
        He said, “Protestant.”

        I said, “Me, too! What franchise?”
        He said, “Baptist.”

        I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
        He said, “Northern Baptist.”

        I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

        He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”

        I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?”

        He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.”

        I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”

        He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”

        I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

        ~Emo Philips

      • SteveK

        It’s the one that teaches that God is sovereign over all creation, Lord of all, King of all kings, judge of all, Gracious, Merciful, Righteous, Just, etc. etc.

        You know, all of them.

        • MNb

          What does that mean, King of all kings? Lord of all? Concretely: what does it mean that your god is king/lord of Rudolf Höss, commander of Auschwitz and directly responsible for the murder of 1,5 million people? What the gracious, merciful, righteous, just etc. etc. treatment that Höss and his victims received from your god, given that the former converted, confessed, repented etc. but the latter did not?
          If I understand the atonement doctrine correctly it means that your God and Höss are singing arm in arm “screw the jews in Hell”. But maybe you can correct my understanding.

        • Susan

          What does that mean, King of all kings? Lord of all?

          Apparently, it’s something none of us knew that christianity “teaches” and if we’d known it, we wouldn’t ask this question:

          When God gives justice, we get what we deserve, but sometimes he gives mercy and we get less than what we deserve. So which is it?

          Now that SteveK has explained what christianity teaches, I would still ask that question.

          What SteveK seems to mean is, “Don’t ask questions.”

        • Michael Neville

          Okay, that covers the broad, nebulous generalities about what a great guy your god supposedly is. But your own propaganda says your god is actually a sadistic, narcissistic bully with the emotional maturity of a spoiled six year old. The Bible tells us how Ol’ Yahweh kills people just because he can.

          He turns Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt because she looked in the wrong direction. The Egyptian first born are killed because Pharaoh won’t listen to a lobbyist (and Yahweh set Pharaoh up to fail, see Ex 9:12). Then there’s Elisha getting mocked for his baldness resulting in 42 children being mauled by bears (Elisha is a real whiner: “Lord, these kids are being snotty to me, time to do some smiting!”) Yeah, real nice guy, your thug of a god.

        • Kodie

          What I was thinking earlier this evening, was that these books in the bible were written by Hitler and Nazi types. I am going to try hard not to criticize the fictional character of god, and reframe it back to the superstitious humans of the bible were using god to support their shitty decisions to be shitty humans. If the Christians won’t claim Hitler, they claim every shitty Hitlerite in the bible, pretending to know what god wants, and executing their own heinous wishes.

          There still is no god. Pretending the character god ordered these things seems to be confusing to Christians. The people of the bible were violent genocidal criminals, using their beliefs to overcome people they didn’t like.

        • tsig

          I see, god is vague.

        • Ron

          …and mysterious…like the Eddie Cullen character from Twilight.

    • This further demonstrates the fact that you have no idea what Christianity teaches about God.

      Dang! You’ve got all the answers … but you just won’t deign to enlighten us. I guess today’s not my lucky day.

      Maybe I didn’t say “pretty please.”

      Dictionaries aren’t filled with arguments.

      Nope, they’re filled with definitions. Maybe Koukl should ask Santa for one since he doesn’t understand the definitions of the words central to his argument.

      You don’t have to believe that Christianity is true to know what it teaches.

      So then you walk where angels (and Greg Koukl) fear to tread? Tell us then the justification for the existence of objective morality.

    • Susan

      Which is it? This further demonstrates the fact that you have no idea what Christianity teaches about God. If you knew you wouldn’t be asking this question.

      If you do know what christianity teaches about your choice of deity, then explain it.

      Dictionaries aren’t filled with arguments.

      No. They are useful though in clarifying word usage, which helps define terms when people make arguments. What problem do you have with the dictionary definitions? How would you like to define the words in the argument and are you willing to be consistent about those definitions and make coherent arguments?

      You don’t have to believe that Christianity is true to know what it teaches.

      What does it teach? It all seems to depend on the christian I’m talking to who is always, as luck would have it, a true christian. Like you.

      So, tell us.

    • tsig

      Teachings of Christianity:

      God created humans who pissed him off so he impregnated a virgin who gave birth to him so he could sacrifice himself to himself and thereby allow him to forgive humans.

  • Sheila C.

    Also, while atheism doesn’t provide “perfect” justice, it is quite possible to notice a connection right here on earth between acting like an asshole and getting what’s coming to you. If you treat people badly, they usually don’t like you and either punish you in some way or avoid you, so that you are stuck alone. Meanwhile if you are kind to everyone you meet, they think of you as a good person and reciprocate.

    Sure, life isn’t always fair, but it isn’t always unfair either.

    • What I find incredible is that Christians deal with morality and justice just like atheists do. They understand how laws are made, how we all feel about good and bad things done to us (or that we see done to others), and so on, just like atheists.

      And yet when they try to get philosophical and wrestle with how morality works in service to God, it becomes gibberish.

      • Kodie

        Most of the time, they are trying to justify punishing things that aren’t bad, just because god doesn’t like it. We tend to punish each other for harms against us and others like ourselves, but we don’t always get it right. Inventing some outer space edition of our local cultural practices doesn’t mean there is one. I can’t really understand how anyone thinks, because the universe doesn’t seem to care, we have to imagine that it does, and gives us the correct afterlife for the life we lived. I’d say Hitler didn’t get eternal or ultimate justice, but he’s been dead a long time and his legend status, the name that lives on in all our memories as a bad bad man. Can you think, if you died, that people would still talk about you in such negative terms, that the worst (for various and sometimes casual definitions of bad) people on earth continue to be compared to Hitler as the exemplar of his type? That Christians don’t want him, and refuse to identify the things Hitler did and stood for with their god, who is described even worse in their holy book, and refuse to believe he could get into heaven, and are so certain god could never forgive a guy like Hitler.

        It means, if you’re dead, mostly you’re forgotten, the people you’ve harmed will die, and nobody will know your name. There must be worse people than Hitler, but I don’t know their names. I think religion relates to fame, and that most people can’t handle not only dying, but being totally forgotten, totally as if they were never even born. Yeah, how meaningless that there are billions of humans ever born and died, who might have been a nice person or a shitty person, and nobody cares anymore, it’s all been relatively “forgiven” by virtue of being forgotten. Someday, Hitler will even be forgotten, and in the meantime, possibly altered into some sort of cartoon villain from “a long time ago”. Sort of like Jesus is the cartoon hero, a maniacal and charismatic preacher (or archetype of one) who acquired superpowers from Jor-El, his father from a fictional planet, in the thousands of years of storytelling embellishments. Can you imagine 100 years from now, what they’ll be saying about Hitler? 1000 years?

        But anyway, they’re trying to say, your deeds will be etched in some record somewhere, things you did unseen by any other person have been seen and recorded for all eternity, and will be accounted for once you have died. And if that’s not true, if you won’t be punished, then the universe really doesn’t care, and that’s not any way the people who believe in god can control the behaviors they don’t like when they’re not there to punish you directly, even if it’s just with their own temporal harsh words and judgments. What they really want to do is judge everyone, and if they can judge them beforehand, make people feel guilty, then we don’t even need god, but they need god to make the accusations stick. “Love the sinner, hate the sin,” i.e. god hates what you’re doing, but I love you enough to beat the shit out of you, physically and/or emotionally, threaten you with some ultimate punishment that I’m legally unable to carry out, my invisible big brother is going to get you, because I can’t. And it’s a shame so many people are intimidated enough by that line of thinking to live according to someone else’s superstitions.

    • Scott_In_OH

      Love your last line. Good to keep that in mind!

  • The Eh’theist

    One of the things I appreciate very much about your writings is that they made me stop long enough to realize that Christians’ need to say “objective morality” proves that “objective” is not a concept inherent to morality. From there it’s easy to see the special pleading that is made to assume its existence. Thanks.

  • MNb

    “The claim is that Christianity is useful”
    Isn’t it funny how apologists use utilitarianism to argue for a morality that rejects utilitarianism?

  • Uzza

    Interesting that he defines “justice” as being the need for punishment. He could just as easily require a reward for those who do good, but that’s not how christians roll, is it?

  • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Christian apologists don’t understand atheists because their livelihoods depend on it.

    • And the rank and file Christians don’t want to go there because a worldview change is psychicly expensive.

  • Logan Blackisle

    Also interesting is the Christians need for ‘punishment’ in their Perfect Justice ™, which has been shown time and again not to work. That is, unless the punishment is death, studies show that punishment is not effective at stopping criminals from being criminals.

    Likewise for deterrence.

    It’s especially interesting when you consider that the concept of ‘punishment’ really comes down to a societal version of ‘an-eye-for-an-eye’, or in other words: this criminal hurt me, so now society must hurt him/her in return.

  • The Hitler example doesn’t work, as conservative Christians in general (both Catholics and Evangelicals) hold suicide is a sin that sends you to hell. So getting forgiveness, then killing yourself, would be self-defeating under that view. Also, the whole “accepted Jesus into his life” idea isn’t Catholic, it’s Evangelical Protestant. “Returning to his roots” would require Hitler confess, repent and be granted absolution. There’s no evidence of that. I do grant you as a hypothetical it’s true however. Of course they might argue that mercy is justice too.

    • MNb

      Agreed. Auschwitz Commander Rudolf Höss is a better example.

      http://www.standfirminfaith.com/?/sf/page/29363

      • The story cuts off near the end, though I assume Hoss repented before his death. Quite interesting to read the comments-a lot of the readers find it hard to accept Hoss is saved, no matter what their doctrine says. Even many believers have trouble with the “ultimate justice” their religion teaches it seems.

        • Ron

          Yes. He repented, confessed his sins against humanity, made a formal profession of Catholic faith and took communion less than a week prior to being hanged. The complete story is available here:

          http://www.shu.edu/academics/theology/upload/mass-murderer-repents.pdf

        • That’s what I figured, thanks for the link. Now consider this: Hoss goes to heaven, under Catholic doctrine (perhaps after time in purgatory) while his victims that were not receive hell. Ah, the ultimate justice!

        • Ron

          That’s when cognitive dissonance rears its ugly head and the apologist accuses you of spiritual ignorance.

        • Yep, that or assert all sins are equal, as the Bible says, and deserving of eternal punishment. It helps that they define so many things as sins.

        • Ron

          Sin: my imaginary friend despises your behavior as much as I do.

        • Indeed. There’s a lot of self-projection.

    • I thought of that. My response was: God works in mysterious ways. If it pleased him to let Hitler in after an especially convincing apology, then he would and could do so, despite the suicide.

      And yes, the accepting Jesus thing sounds more evangelical than Catholic, but we can assume a Protestant god in that case.

      But MNb provides a neat solution that is much better than my song and dance here.

      • It’s true the Catholics have relaxed their position towards suicide, as the psychological causes which can lead to it are becoming more known and they take essentially the view you stated. My point was there’s no evidence Hitler apologized for anything before he died. Yes, MNb’s example is a good one.

        • Total agreement there–there’s no evidence to suggest that Hitler did that. One can speculate how weeks living in a hole in the ground, knowing that your life has been a failure, will change a man, but again–just speculation.

        • From what I’ve read, Hitler killed himself because he was (rightly) afraid of what the Russians would do to him. This was not unique to him-thousands of German citizens and especially Nazis killed themselves for the same reason at the end of the war. Since Russian soldiers raped thousands of German women and killed hundreds of suspected Nazis without trial, their fears were justified.

    • IME, there is not a homogeneous belief among evangelicals as to whether suicide sends one to hell.

      • Ah, well the only statements on suicide I’d seen by evangelicals were unilaterally condemnatory, without even any exception if the person wasn’t in their right mind.

    • Ron

      Perhaps God will overlook that minor indiscretion and call Adolf “a man after my own heart” on account of his righteousness in carrying out mass torture and genocide.

      • Hitler said he was acting in the name of God and divine providence more than once. Who knows? Some Jews have actually said the Holocaust is a punishment for their sins (which has many Biblical precedents). Thankfully not a very popular view.

        • The tersest atheist argument I’ve heard is one that I hear is not uncommon among Jews of a certain age: the Holocaust exists; therefore God doesn’t.

        • One book about the Holocaust was titled “Was God On Vacation?” Seeing it as a boy, I didn’t like that, but now it raises a good question. I don’t know whether the author answers it, but well-known Holocaust survivor author Elie Wiesel has said “Auschwitz killed my faith” and that his was common among survivors he knew. He has also said, more harshly, that “anything you say about God you should be able to say standing over a pit full of burning babies.” Saying “God is love” in that situation (or similar) would be basically impossible for me to imagine.

        • That’s a powerful line by Wiesel.

        • Yes, it made a profound impression on my personally.

        • MNb

          The Chilean version at the end of the 70’s (Pinochet) made me lost for christianity.

        • Some American conservatives still defend Pinochet on the grounds that “he was the best leader in Latin American history” and “made the economy boom.” Though mild compared with Hitler (most are) disappearing, killing and torturing thousands of his people doesn’t really scream “best leader” status, and the economic “boom” quickly became a crash, complete with the familiar bailouts. Funny how they forget to mention those things.

    • TheNuszAbides

      Of course they might argue that mercy is justice too.

      i know of many who would without hesitation, shame or recognition of dissonance. i certainly would have back in my more sheepish days (though i was in enough of a bubble, and schooling with respectful/disinterested-enough peers, that i was never involved in any argument or discussion while still a believer). ties in sloppily enough with the “any act of Bog is unquestionably proper and infinitely wise and mercifully appropriate and righteously just” and any other shoehorning needed.

      • Yes, of course for the true believer God can do no wrong. Not only in being merciful, but the opposite.

  • Eric Sotnak

    Don’t forget that on the evangelical exclusivist view, not only does Hitler go to hell, but so does the kindest and most compassionate non-Christian. If you try to say that this is a failure of positive justice on God’s part, the usual evangelical answer is that we all deserve eternal damnation, and only the blood of Christ can redeem us. But attempts to explain and justify this require the most painful sort of intellectual contortions.

    • So then Hitler isn’t playing shuffleboard with Jesus in heaven, he’s playing it with Gandhi in hell.

      • Eric Sotnak

        I tend to think that anytime someone is playing shuffleboard, they are in hell.

        • Kodie

          Shuffleboard is like really shitty golf.

        • Mark Brewster

          Putt-Putt on a REALLY bad course……

  • RichardSRussell

    So Koukl is arguing that there must be absolute justice because it’s an inevitable consequence of objective morality, and we all know that there’s objective morality, right? That’s why we always see nothing but examples of absolute justice occurring around us all the time, never ever a case of a good person getting screwed or a bad person getting away with it.

    • Kodie

      I think the idea of an objective morality is supposed to correct mistakes like that. We can’t have good people getting screwed for no reason, or bad people getting all the way away with it. That makes the universe cruel, and life painful and meaningless. Therefore… whatever I wish were true.

      • RichardSRussell

        The yearning for poetic justice is what inspired humans to invent the concepts of heaven and hell, because it’s blatantly obvious that the real world doesn’t work that way. If poetic justice really existed, Greg Koukl would’ve been smitten by a lightning bolt decades ago for his egregious assaults on intellectual integrity.

        • Kodie

          That’s why we always see nothing but examples of absolute justice
          occurring around us all the time, never ever a case of a good person
          getting screwed or a bad person getting away with it.

          A couple days later, my idea of this argument is similar to how theists argue for creation. We are familiar with human and even animal creators (for example, building a nest or hive), so reasonably one has to assume everything else was created by a mind. We don’t see perfect justice, so why assume there is perfect justice in an afterlife. Maybe it’s not related, but it seems like a similar type of comparison.

      • Not a problem. It’ll all get corrected in the afterlife. (Though why God can’t get it right in the first pass, I don’t know.)

        • Kodie

          I’ll give you a hint – it’s the fall.

        • Mark Brewster

          Here’s a hint for you — a supposedly perfect ‘God’ wouldn’t allow a ‘fall’ in his creation, unless he reveled in suffering…which, if you read the backstory of the Canaanite ‘god of war’, Yahweh, you’d see. Not trying to down you, necessarily, just making the point. MOST people don’t know about that.

        • MNb

          Here’s a hint for you:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarcasm

        • Ron

          He’s obviously in the beta testing and user feedback stages of the development cycle. The final patches will be implemented in Heaven 2.0.

    • I continue to be amazed that well-known apologists like Koukl and Craig don’t bother to do a better job of justifying objective morality. WLC is a professor after all–would he accept, “Well, c’mon–who doesn’t agree that this exists?” from students?

      • Mark Brewster

        AND, if objective morality WERE real, then moral relativity wouldn’t even exist AS A CONCEPT…since the whole of humanity would embrace the reality of ‘THE ONE’ morality.

        • great point.

        • TheNuszAbides

          not necessarily (by the ‘lights’ of apologetics), because it is rather our puny mortal capacity to ‘apprehend’ this objective morality that is in question. (usually compounded by faux-common-sensical assertions about Free Will(TM))

        • Mark Brewster

          What kind of dressing do you offer with that word salad?

        • TheNuszAbides

          i’m not actually offering it:

          (by the ‘lights’ of apologetics)

      • primenumbers

        Even funnier, they demand that objective (i.e. mind independent) morality exists, and then to demonstrate where that objective morality comes from they tie it directly to the mind of their god!

  • Philmonomer

    Not Related to the Blog Post, but interesting, I think:

    My favorite Greg Koukl moment (I literally laughed out loud), was in his September 23, 2014 podcast (this part comes right at the end of the 3 hours), where he states that he wouldn’t let his daughters go play with another child at that child’s house, if that child had same sex parents. He said that it isn’t because he’s “intolerant,” he would just want to protect his daughters from the idea that same sex parents are ok.

    Like I said, I literally laughed out loud.

    • Because cooties.

    • MNb

      So did I when reading the account you gave.

    • Ron

      I wonder how he’d react if his daughters were shunned because of his apologetics. Bet he’d scream religious intolerance.

  • MasterTrollBater

    do they realize that when they argue that right and wrong exist only in a religious world that they are basically admitting that they would be amoral monsters without an old book and some fairy tales?

  • JBSchmidt

    So…..You spent a lot of time misrepresenting Christian doctrine, misrepresented Paul’s words in Romans and mocking Greg, but never addressed the issue at hand.

    What ability do you have claim the actions of another are immoral? Further, if those actions are perpetrated against you, what right do you have to be made whole in a ‘justice’ sense?

    • tsig

      In a lifetime you can only commit a finite amount of sins yet you can be punished infinitely. God’s justice seems a bit unbalanced.

      • JBSchmidt

        Thanks, I understand my views. That wasn’t my question.

    • Kodie

      What ability do you have to imagine that anyone but humans decide what is just and moral for humans? What right do you have to inflict the threat of an ultimate justice on anyone?

      • JBSchmidt

        Thanks. I understand my views. That wasn’t my question.

        • Kodie

          Of course you understand what you invented. That wasn’t my question.

        • JBSchmidt

          I asked a question about the worldview of the author, one I notice you share. I fail to understand how what I believe has any impact on that. Furthermore, I assume that your believe the author has dismantled my view, which makes me wonder why you can’t answer my questions.

        • Kodie

          Am I like pointing a gun at your head to wonder why you won’t/can’t examine the source of your own morality? It’s other people, it’s selective interpretation of the “holy book,” also written by people. We’re not the ones pretending there is some ultimate authority enforcing whatever rules you pick and choose and label “objective”.

          But to you, questioning yourself is like having a gun pointed at your head and forcing you to deny your beliefs.

          I know where your morality comes from, and it’s not god.

        • JBSchmidt

          Well, defensive much?

          If there is no objective or no ultimate authority, why is a religions worldview wrong?

          If it is not god, then our moralities originate from the same place. Why is mine wrong?

        • Greg G.

          If there is no objective or no ultimate authority, why is a religions worldview wrong?

          They are wrong when they accept unnecessary suffering and oppression.

          If it is not god, then our moralities originate from the same place. Why is mine wrong?

          Where do you disagree with the idea of reducing harm? Your morality may be quite similar to mine. You just aren’t realizing where it comes from.

        • Kodie

          In many cases, you cannot point to an actual harm, only that your imaginary friend says to do something is “wrong,” and threaten imaginary afterlife punishment for this “offense.” If your reasons for calling something immoral come from an irrational set of ideas that you use to threaten people to obey, using your “daddy” in essence, “wait ’til your father gets home,” if the reason something is wrong is because “god says so,” then you’re wrong about it being immoral. You can still practice your beliefs, but you don’t get to command everyone else who doesn’t recognize the source of your morality, which is the other people who believe your selective interpretation of an ancient guidebook, written by people. We can argue individually about certain harms and whether they harm someone actual, and how much punishment it’s worth.

          Previously, you had gone on about doing life for murder being the equivalent of eternity, which is also wrong. If someone has several consecutive life sentences, and humans happened to (for argument’s sake) live forever, they would still get out eventually. Your threat is empty, because you can’t actively punish someone on earth for doing things that society has accepted and decided isn’t harmful to anyone, so what you like to do instead is harm people using threats, guilt, shunning, disenfranchisement, harassment, and other petty acts in order to enforce something you sincerely believe will be enforced later. How is that working?

        • MNb

          “If there is no objective or no ultimate authority, why is a religions worldview wrong?”
          Because many a religion’s worldview postulates that objective, ultimate authority, silly.

          “Why is mine wrong?”
          Who says that all your moral judgments are wrong? Moreover we don’t claim yours are wrong – that presupposes an objective standard again. We just claim that we eventually totally disagree. You can only be wrong when you misrepresent facts and/or theories. Morality is neither.
          This isn’t contradicted by sloppy language like Greg G’s underneath:

          “They are wrong when they accept unnecessary suffering and oppression.”
          as Greg G perfectly understands the difference between an opinion and a fact/theory. What he means is something like

          “They should be judged negatively when they accept ….”

        • Kodie

          You can only be wrong when you misrepresent facts and/or theories. Morality is neither.

          When a theist demonstrates harm, they often misrepresent facts and/or theories, which makes their morality wrong. They are trying to substantiate rules that they believe come from god/the bible with “science” to argue science (even social sciences), only they start wrong, so their opinion of what is moral or immoral stands on nothing actual. Mostly apparent in arguments against LGBT and abortion, for example.

        • MNb

          “….. which makes their morality wrong.”
          Granted. It’s sometimes difficult to separate facts from opinions.

        • primenumbers

          “If there is no objective or no ultimate authority,” – but there is. It’s called reality and if a religion makes claims that don’t agree with reality then that religion is wrong.

        • JBSchmidt

          All atheist roads lead back to the same place.

          #consensus

        • primenumbers

          Is that how you defend religious claims being at odds with reality?

        • JBSchmidt

          Nope. Its the statement of faith that is used by atheists when they try to end a discussion.

        • primenumbers

          No, we use argument, reason and facts about reality. You’d not be arguing this way if you could demonstrate religious claims are true by appeal to evidence.

        • JBSchmidt

          Well then good thing science has factually answered all the questions of how we got here.

        • Greg G.

          “Atheist roads” go where the evidence leads. Theist roads lead to an imaginary being no matter where the evidence goes.

        • JBSchmidt

          Then maybe you should ask your brethren to remove consensus from the lexicon. As consensus does not equal evidence.

        • Greg G.

          The evidence is the same for everybody. It leads to the same place. A consensus is the result of following the evidence. There is nothing wrong with a consensus unless it is not supported by evidence.

        • JBSchmidt

          Over course, because consensus based on present evidence has been, in the history of science, always correct. Right?

        • Greg G.

          Not always but it does tend to be right more often than ignoring the evidence.

        • MNb

          So you’re the only one who is to ask questions? We are not to ask similar questions to you?
          Is that the newest form of christian privilege?
          Makes you look bad, you know.

    • primenumbers

      “What ability do you have claim the actions of another are immoral?” – we take a look at the persons actions and apply a two part test:

      1) does the action cause harm?
      2) is there a sufficient reason for that harm?

      If there is harm caused and there is a lack of sufficient reason, we call it “immoral”.

      • JBSchmidt

        How perfectly subjective. That definition works great for you because you have an accepted level of tolerance for ‘harm’ and ‘sufficient reason’ within your own psyche. Is there an atheist standard by which you expect the world to agree?

        Who gets to determine what constitutes ‘harm’?
        Who gets to determine ‘sufficient reason’?

        • Kodie

          Essentially the same way religions do it, only we don’t invent some imaginary enforcement of the rules the way you do.

        • JBSchmidt

          Maybe you should reread what you said. If religion believes that God is the authority, what replaces God your world view? Since they are essentially the same and all.

        • Kodie

          What? Social customs and empathy. Do you have some other method? How is it working for you?

        • JBSchmidt

          So your morality is governed by what other people have prescribed to you or how your view of empathy has been constructed through others?

        • Kodie

          Has yours been constructed another way?

        • MNb

          Just replace “governed” by “heaviliy influenced”. It might be a surprise to you, but atheists are social beings as well and as such for a large part defined by their social environment. Creationists like you recognize that when they want their pseudoscience to be taught in science class.

        • primenumbers

          Nope, it’s governed by the two part test above:

          1) does the action cause harm?
          2) is there a sufficient reason for that harm?

        • Greg G.

          Why replace God? It is an unnecessary concept.

        • MNb

          And that’s quite a generous formulation.

        • Ron

          “Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là” (“I had no need of that hypothesis.”)
          ~Pierre-Simon Laplace

        • Ron

          Why do you require an authority figure to prescribe what’s right and wrong? Aren’t you capable of evaluating your own actions?

        • Kodie

          No, not if he equates the questions atheism asks of theism with sticking a gun at his head and forcing him to deny his faith. He thinks it’s wrong for him to be made to question his faith, but he can’t figure out why it’s still ok for theists to rag on atheists and threaten us with their own warped values.

        • primenumbers

          And how can an authority figure that by definition cannot feel harm be a suitable judge of what harms us?

          Secondly, morality is not an appeal to authority, but an appeal to harm without sufficient reason, and thus an appeal to authority doesn’t meet any rational definition of morality.

        • Kodie

          Theists take on what harms god, as JBSchmidt introduced himself by way of comparing atheist questions of theists to pointing a gun at their heads and forcing them to give up their faith. My denying/disbelieving that god exists gives him a visceral pain, deserving to be lashed out at and threatened.

        • TheNuszAbides

          And how can an authority figure that by definition cannot feel harm be a suitable judge of what harms us?

          i’m guessing this obvious problem is what [largely] prompted the perspective that Jesus-on-Earth had to be at least partially mortal/physical/whatever – otherwise, what would be the point of the entire exercise? (doubly rhetorical question!)

        • primenumbers

          As always with Christianity it seems, that one “solution” to a problem just opens up other issues. Indeed Jesus as fully human does indeed allow him to feel pain, suffer and experience humanity, but Jesus being all god and all man doesn’t and cannot make sense.

        • TheNuszAbides

          then the solution is simple: add yet a third unwarranted supernatural element! and more if necessary …

        • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

          And what happens when you appeal to a higher authority figure to prescribe right and wrong? – Authoritarian dictatorships. “Just let the Boss do the thinking, just do what you’re told.”

        • TheNuszAbides

          JB seems to be imagining that this only really happens if one doesn’t tap into the “you silly, petty materialists, i answer to a Higher Power” mindset.

        • MNb

          ” If religion believes that God is the authority, what replaces God your world view?”
          Why would any atheist care? We are better off without any god.

        • TheNuszAbides

          We are better off without any god.

          … at least going by the vast majority of specific attributes projected onto it/them by authoritarian toadies and megalomaniacs. hypothetically 😀

        • primenumbers

          All definitions are subjective. Definitions are useful as long as there’s good agreement on them and they suit the purpose they were defined for. The above definitions suits the purpose, but is incomplete in that it doesn’t iterate out all harms, or all sufficient reasons.

          If you’re wanting a very concise definition of “immoral” you’re not going to find one which is useful or ultimately meaningful. Similarly, if you want a useful definition that actually works to reduce harm, then it’s a very long and complex definition.

          But just because morality is a hard subject, and the definition long and nuanced, doesn’t make it necessarily subjective. We all feel pain in similar ways, we all have similar needs of food, shelter and company.

          But you defining morality as coming from god is entirely subjective as that definition comes from your mind.

        • JBSchmidt

          “But you defining morality as coming from god is entirely subjective as that definition comes from your mind.”

          Yours doesn’t? Where does your appear from?

          “All definitions are subjective.”

          That returns us to the authors article. If this is the case, how can he cast judgement on the apologist?

        • primenumbers

          It comes from recognizing a fact of the world, that we humans feel harm, and we can also appreciate the benefit of certain small harms for future benefits (like a vaccination). Just because the definition is subjective, it doesn’t make the real world facts that the definition encapsulates the concept of as subjective.

        • JBSchmidt

          Then are you free to judge others if they disagree with your level of harm or sufficient reason?

        • primenumbers

          We all judge other people all the time, and that’s not going to stop. What matters is can you show the harm, and can you demonstrate the reason.

        • Greg G.

          Yes. Even stop people who are causing obvious unnecessary suffering.

        • Kodie

          Still, same as you are. Aren’t you freely judging us with your subjective morality (only you don’t realize it)?

        • MNb

          Like everyone else, including you, does. The only difference is that the author is courageous enough not to refer to an imaginary sky daddy, but explicitely admits that it is his judgment and nobody else’s.
          You can angle for an objective grounding as long as you like, there just isn’t one. And that’s not a theoretical problem, only a practical one.

        • JBSchmidt

          Erase God, fine. You only put yourself under the authority of every other person on the planet. Your grounding for morality exists in the concepts devised by some cultural anthropologists who have decreed (#consensus) that this is how humanity has evolved to exist; hence, follow the leader. After submitting to that ideology, you must further submit to the government (obey laws), your spouse (be faithful), your neighbor and anyone else you encounter in your life (do unto others, cause that’s how we evolved (#consensus)). All of your interaction are governed by those individuals. The author’s courage to say it is his judgement is false, he is imprisoned by it.

          You might get 80-100 years on this earth to scratch out a living and under your morality it is at the whims of those in control and others around you. Your life plays no roll in the ultimate expanse of the universe, yet you still submit as if it does. You are little more than an ape at the bottom of the pecking order and the decreed social structure allows for no individual advancement. You may claim that we have become more civilized, but that is just a rationalization trying to disguise the weakness in your submission.

          That doesn’t prove a God. It does prove that while you and the author may not submit to a sky daddy, you both instead have voluntarily submitted to an endless line of earth daddies. None of which give a crap about what you want/need/think. They take their piece of flesh from you and you eagerly wait for them to do it again.

        • Kodie

          Does religion have a different method? I know it offers false promises, and imaginary extra meaningfulness.

        • JBSchmidt

          “I know it offers false promises, and imaginary extra meaningfulness.”

          Can you prove that’s not true? The historical record of the Bible is full of fulfilled promises.

          My method realizes that all humanity has the same basic moral code written on our hearts. That, to me, defies an evolutionary theory considering the relative isolation of some people groups before world wide travel was available.

        • Kodie

          It couldn’t be because we’re the same species.

        • JBSchmidt

          Duh? I should have seen that. Once again you are looking out for me.

          So then our morality was set when the human species made its introduction on the planet?

        • Kodie

          Set? No.

        • JBSchmidt

          Well based on your previous response the basic morality we all possess was.

        • Kodie

          I don’t think “set” would be the precise term. You are trying to force everything in your own framework, as “objective” because it was set once everything was in place and that’s what would make good things good and bad things bad. What propensities were useful to survival survived genetically. You seem to think, in this cold, uncaring, rational world, that we humans would rationally (without god or need of god) arrived at some idea that it’s more logical to take food if we’re hungry than buy it from someone who owns it, or share it with someone else who is hungry. And then you think, morality is written on our hearts, or whatever metaphor? you choose, because it’s wrong to steal, just because that food belongs to someone else. We have social consequences to doing whatever is most convenient and selfish – people don’t like us, they shun us, they won’t share with us, and we die. Essentially become unfuckable. The selfish are not attractive enough to be a part of the tribe.

          Have you ever been friends with someone, or trusted someone at least, and then they stole from you? You probably had to cut your losses (if it was not that much), and cut ties with that person. That’s their social outcome of doing whatever they wanted and was convenient. In a close-knit tribal community of early humans, that person probably would not have found anyone to take them in, you know, if the punishment for the crime wasn’t itself death, that person went off by himself and died. We’re a cooperative species because we cannot and do not do well alone. It’s easier to think, in the modern age that you can – you can isolate yourself quite well, but you can’t do without other people making the things you want to buy, and delivering them, and all the other services that would make your solo life comfortable enough.

          However, as per my “low opinion of humans,” you have a lot of people who don’t think they’re such a bad person, manage to mate and find other friends and family, so being sort of immoral doesn’t seem to be a repellent to social ties. You have to be pretty awful to lose everyone. Even murderers in prison for life have people who develop romantic feelings for them and make sex visits, they make friends in jail, etc. I think society has a pretty low bar for accepting people who are not too nice, and we’re pretty tolerant of selfish people up to the point when something happens to us personally. We don’t go after every infraction… I mean, I don’t like discussions about morality so much because it focuses on idealistic atruism as a main feature of humanity, where I see people acting mostly selfish up to the point where they think someone will be mad at them. They will take every opportunity that will serve them and think it either won’t screw someone over so bad, or they won’t get punished with either jail or a punch in the face, and they don’t know who they’re screwing over so they can’t see the effect, and rationalize that it’s not hurting anyone. “Narcing” on someone in that case has the negative social consequences.

          But there’s obviously survival advantages to acting that way also. Don’t kill someone, don’t steal something they’ll notice is missing, but feel free to drive the wrong way on a one-way street if there aren’t any cops around, run across the street in front of a car and make them slam on the brakes, and go ahead and stand in the middle of the aisle with your shopping cart and carry on texting. Even in a world of over 7 billion people, we do mostly care about ourselves and a few other people, and we aren’t in danger of losing those ties that matter even if we are selfish to everyone else, we are trying to provide for the people that matter to us the most in the efficient way of getting somewhere faster, or staying in touch with them at the inconvenience of everyone else. So, cutting someone off in traffic is an asshole move to the victim of that behavior, while in some sense, it is good for the self-serving purpose that you don’t like to wait, and you don’t want to wait, and if you don’t make a move, nobody will let you in because they’re also selfish, and doing that because humans are not only altruistic and moral, we’re competitive, and if we aren’t competitive, it’s not that people don’t care, but they really can’t see us if they don’t know who we are. You do have to make your move, even if it’s aggravating to someone, or else they won’t altruistically offer you anything… and I say that as someone who is often inconvenienced by exactly someone else’s unselfish altruism to someone else. I’m not exaggerating when I say, I was once driving behind someone who’d stop at a green light just to see if there was someone waiting to cross, and if there was, he would let them. See how it doesn’t always make the world a better place? The rules as I’ve become accustomed to – everyone does get a turn, and if it’s not your turn, it’s ok to wait. If it is your turn, it’s not ok for someone else to just jump in and take your turn from you.

          Anyway, that’s a long bunch of stuff because, to me, morality is really the grease of getting along, by following customs and rules to make getting around and getting together “work” right. We decide how we’re going to do this, and if everyone does it right, nobody loses. If some people do it wrong, some people win at someone else’s expense. It’s a lot of little things, piled up. It’s not genocide because most people aren’t genociding. It’s how many little things “ought not” bother anyone because they’re all too minor that someone can do and still think they are a good person because “it’s not like they murdered anybody.”

        • JBSchmidt

          I can appreciate your response. Thanks for taking the time to be so in depth.

          As I stated to someone else, I get the social monkey culture and how it could have been transferred to the hominids. I just have trouble accepting (like other evolutionary advances) that the random acts of natural selection and environmental pressures continues to come up aces. We went from throwing poo at each other to understanding benefits to an altruism. It just doesn’t seem like a reasonable explanation.

        • Come up aces? Are you unaware of the physiological imperfections of humans? Unreliable and deceptive memory, cognitive biases, prejudices, pareidolia, and so on.

          If you actually cared about these issues, you could learn about what the experts say. I suspect that you don’t and only want red herrings to gum up the works. Unfortunately, the people who hang out around here are pretty well versed in evolution. Evolution deniers will get much abuse.

        • Kodie

          But we’re also still throwing poo at each other. Your story says we used to be perfect, and from some fairy tale metaphor, we became like monkeys. The truth is we never stopped. We evolved to be more technically advanced – but that really only works with a lot of people, a social environment. Many people can devise a makeshift tool, but most could not invent something to benefit humanity. If you really take a look at humans being humans, most take credit for being born in a species that has achieved a lot of advanced ideas and executed them. It’s not a detriment to your survival that you can’t invent a gun or an airplane or a telephone, or even fire. I can’t remember who said they were an engineer, it might have been you, but so some professions are nearer to the “maker” kind of person, but without training, and other people collaborating, and material assemblers, and miners, what could anyone make? What are some things you like that you can’t do?

          How are you aces? What’s true about evolution doesn’t “seem reasonable” to you – it could be that you’re right and it’s not true, or it could be that you are inept at grasping what is true – out of fear, or out of an inability to understand the basics underlying, but also mainly because someone else has given you the wrong explanation that seems so sound to you that your own “aces” brain can’t give it up, even if it’s wrong. Your brain can’t check its own facts, it has to go find other people. And there is, or there has been so far, no great survival detriment to the species or to you individually for being incorrect.

          I think the problem with the explanation of evolution to evolution-deniers is that you presume evolution would rationally hand us all a rational brain if god were not real, that we would all get together and think it through, and reject everything in the world that wasn’t true, or else die.

          I again tell you to take a look at people. For the last time, I will bring it up how you introduced yourself – you perceive that atheism is exactly like pointing a gun at your head and forcing you to deny your faith. No, we’re just discussing stuff, and trying to weed out the wrong. Around the world, people go to war trying to correct someone else’s religion, they will put a machete at your neck or a gun to your head or a sniper or a bomber – it doesn’t matter what religion you are or they are. The most likely reason you’re a Christian now is because of an ISIS-like massive effort all across Europe to convert or die. Someone was figuratively sticking a gun in someone’s face and forcing them to deny what they previously believed – not with ideas, but with violence.

          I live in a country where, if I’m not a Christian, depending on where I live, it might be ok as long as I practice some kind of faith (where I happen to live in the Northeastern US), but it’s still not safe to openly admit I’m an atheist. I might not get physically assaulted, but I could lose my job, I could lose friends, I could fail to become friends with people I would get along with otherwise. Not very good for a social species. I am bombarded with the idea that if I don’t believe in god, I am the monster in the room, I can’t be trusted, I should be feared. Where do those ideas come from? So, nobody is sticking a gun at your head, we are approaching you (or you approached us) with rational arguments against taking this myth to heart and executing its false ideas politically. Look around the world if you want to see how religion (including Christianity) deals with heretics, look at yourself, look how you regarded us. Is that “aces”? Most religions can’t stand the competition. Your own “god” has his first command.

        • MNb

          “the random acts of natural selection”
          Thanks for displaying your total lack of understanding. Natural selection is the exact opposite but random.

          http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

          The fourth one.

          “It just doesn’t seem like a reasonable explanation.”

          That’s just because you don’t understand evolution.

        • JBSchmidt

          The full text of what I said was “random acts of natural selection and environmental pressures”. The underlying process by which natural selection functions (mutation), is completely random (as pointed out in your link). So are the environmental pressures produced to push the selection process. While the claim can be made that animal will select in a non random manner to maintain a successful gene pool, everything up to that selection is random. In fact, everything after that animal mates again become random as you again roll dice to see which traits are expressed in the offspring.

          It seems implausible that a process like that could produce intelligence.

        • MNb

          The full text is still nonsense. Indeed, mutations are random. They are not caused by natural selection – they are weeded out by natural selection.

          “everything up to that selection is random”
          That’s not what you wrote.

          “It seems implausible that a process like that could produce intelligence.”
          On the contrary.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers

        • It seems implausible that a process like that could produce intelligence.

          If it doesn’t convince Dr. Schmidt, it won’t convince me.

        • MNb

          “The historical record of the Bible is full of fulfilled promises.”
          You mean like Lucas 21:32?

          “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.”
          Two thousand years and counting.
          There is no need to explain this away with something like “in the Bible the word generation doesn’t mean what it seems to mean.” It’s just that – explaining away.

          “That, to me, defies an evolutionary theory …..”
          What it defies to you is totally irrelevant for science. Scientific research though is. Check the work of Frans de Waal. Or don’t – we already know that you reject the scientific method.

          “My method …..”
          is to accept everything written in a badly outdated book written by ignorants without ever criticizing it.

        • JBSchmidt

          So unless the Bible says what you want to hear it is false? Moreover, that chapter also gives a very real description of the destruction of the temple. But of course that was put in after to trick saps like myself.

          “is to accept everything written in a badly outdated book written by ignorants without ever criticizing it.”

          It is amazing how closed minded you are.

        • Ron

          The bible is faulty because it doesn’t comport with reality. We don’t consult first century texts for medical advice; so why would we trust them for moral guidance?

        • Greg G.

          Mark was written after the destruction of Jerusalem. He wrote the cursing of the fig tree, followed by the Temple Tantrum, followed by the noticing of the withered tree later. Mark’s readers would fill in the blank with the destruction of Jerusalem the way we think of the Twin Towers when we hear 9/11. But there are kids entering college who only know what happened through history books and it doesn’t have the same oomph which means there would be a time limit for how long that passage would automatically extract that thought.. It is a fictional story not meant to fool anyone. Mark would be amazed that people take that for history two thousand years later.

        • JBSchmidt

          We were talking Luke, most feel that was written 50-60CE.

        • Greg G.

          Not most. It is only those basing their dating on religious reasons. The general concensus is after 80 AD. It is very obvious that Luke used Mark and Josephus as sources, including Life of Josephus that was written near the end of the century. The earlier dates are ridiculous.

        • JBSchmidt

          Yet, obviously those who are not religious must be doing all the accurate scholarly work. Since people who are not religious have no biases.

          Saying 80AD puts Acts even later and it is striking that neither then reference the destruction if Jerusalem. It seems the it would be hugely beneficial to point out Christ’s prophecy about the destruction of the temple in one of those books if they were written after it occurred.

        • Greg G.

          Acts is not history. It is a fictional story. It is a religious account. The speeches are nearly a third of it. The speeches follow the same pattern and scarcely address the situation that prompts the speech. Luke is trying to make parallels between Peter and Paul. His accounts with Paul often contradict Paul’s account. The travels don’t square with Paul. They have Paul going to Jerusalem more than Paul explicitly accounts for. The fifth trip is like it was a rewrite of Josephus’ tale of his own shipwreck. The coincidences are astounding!

        • Most? Show us.

          Like Greg G politely pointed out, most scholars have a later date … but if you want to play, I’ll be interested in evidence for your position. Just make sure that the sample is not “everyone from Biola” or something.

        • MNb

          Problems with your comprehensive reading skills? Or are you just another lying creationist?

          “So unless the Bible says what you want to hear it is false?”
          I didn’t write anything like that. I don’t care what the Bible says. I just notice that Jesus made a false prophecy. That’s not my problem; humans are fallible and so was Jesus. It’s your problem and your counterquestion does nothing to remedy it.

          “It is amazing how closed minded you are.”

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Write the guy who is too closed minded to even consider any criticism on his favourite Holy Book.

        • primenumbers

          You know, if hitting someone in the face only hurt people from North America aboriginals, but not Europeans you might be onto something. If Australian aboriginals didn’t need food, shelter or companionship yet Europeans did, you could have a point. If Asians could be cut without bleeding and it didn’t hurt them, yet the rest of us bled and were hurt, your idea might make sense.

        • JBSchmidt

          So pain threshold, your propensity to bleed and how much you value material possession are dictating factors in your morality? By that standard, why don’t we still act like apes?

          Everything you listed is valued very differently around the world, so that doesn’t explain why we all have the same basic moral code.

        • primenumbers

          “So pain threshold, your propensity to bleed and how much you value material possession are dictating factors in your morality?” – no, they indicate we’re all harmed in very similar ways. What harms me, in general, harms you. What makes me happy and comfortable, in general, make other people happy and comfortable. We all have similar needs and are hurt or injured in similar ways.

          “By that standard, why don’t we still act like apes?” – because we have the cognition to understand that we all have similar needs and are hurt or injured in similar ways.

          “Everything you listed is valued very differently around the world” – valued differently, but still valued. All those things are basically the same even if the nuances differ.

          “so that doesn’t explain why we all have the same basic moral code” – absolutely it does. It explains why killing people, hitting them in the face or raping them is generally considered wrong and giving people food, houses and companionship is generally considered good.

        • JBSchmidt

          Why would caring for others be beneficial? Its seems simply being the biggest and strongest keeps me the safest.

          You make assumption that killing people and rape should be considered wrong in a less civilized world. It assumes I would find a benefit it putting the needs of others ahead of mine. Why would we have the ability?

        • Greg G.

          But you are not always the biggest and the strongest. You have other needs that cannot be achieved by size and strength. An alliance of two or more can overcome your size and strength. Your binocular vision has benefits but you need someone to watch your back because you are not bigger and stronger than a lion. That is why most primates are social creatures.

        • JBSchmidt

          Fair enough. However, this is my biggest stumbling point with all things evolution. It is a never ending list of theoretical positions based on what we see today. There is almost a god complex within science that assumes they can simply rewind history and develop the story. Yet, they don’t even have a good idea who the characters are outside the last 10000 years which is nothing considering science estimates the ape/hominid split happened anywhere from 5 to 40 million years ago.

          I find it fascinating, but I don’t have the faith to accept it.

        • Susan

          I find it fascinating, but I don’t have the faith to accept it.

          What books have you read on the subject? What course have you taken?

          What sources have you consulted?

        • JBSchmidt

          LOL! Susan, that horse is long dead. I am sure that until I become a true believer as yourself, you will demand I read and ever increasing number of books. I don’t keep track of what I read or the websites I visit. Maybe from this point forward I can keep a spreadsheet to share with you.

        • Susan

          LOL!

          I know, right?

          I am sure that until I become a true believer as yourself, you will demand I read and ever increasing number of books.

          If you’re going to piss on an entire field of science, it would be good form to show you’ve read at least a single book on the subject. If you only read one, I don’t see why you wouldn’t remember what it’s called. If you read more than one, you should be able to remember what one of them is called.

          I don’t keep track of what I read or the websites I visit. Maybe from this point forward I can keep a spreadsheet to share with you.

          So, none?

        • JBSchmidt

          I love reading Hawkins, his books and articles. He amazes me, that regardless of his handicapped he exceeds beyond any normal mortal.

          I have read Boyer. Little dry.

          I spend lots of time pouring through scientific publications, not articles.

          Is that enough? Do I pass?

        • Susan

          I love reading Hawkins. his books and his articles.

          I love Hawkins. He is quite a guy. Excellent example of your honest exploration of the subject of evolution by natural selection. What were your main concerns about Hawkins’s position?

          regardless of his handicapped he exceeds beyond any normal mortal.

          And yet, you know so much more than Hawkins, wheelchair bound evolutionary biologist who excels compared to most normal mortals.

          Security!!

        • Ron

          “I love reading Hawkins…”

          Who’s Hawkins?

        • Greg G.

          Dawking’s neighbor.

        • MNb

          Perhaps this guy.

          http://images3.cinema.de/imedia/5927/1825927,fMlVGyVk6ANgc1tMjQ1_gzilxC3MConPkOSsvYO0lGjAqMRxJMhidCs+p_TlrrpMcXQ0lOk7ny5FL5Kr2nNnlQ==.jpg

          The one with the beard. You might recognize the other one from old Tarzan movies; it’s

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lex_Barker

          Or, if you’re culturally better educated than me, from Dolce Vita (I have seen it, was unimpressed and don’t remember Barker in it).

          So far useless information.

        • You mean Stephen Hawking? Yes, he’s an impressive physicist.

          But isn’t the topic evolution?

        • JBSchmidt

          Thanks for proof reading.

          Also, thanks for proving my point. I haven’t read the proper books or the books that you have read. As such, it is ignorance that explains my disbelief. What if I read everything and still reject, I must then have learning disability, correct? Or maybe as the flood of irrefutable evidence waves across my synapses, I will be awoken from my purgatory of Christianity.

          I never said your view sucks. I have repeatedly said it seems implausible. Obviously, that is because I am to stupid to fall in line like a good secular humanist.

          Curious, which religious commentaries, by Christian authors, have you studied? If you haven’t read the books I have or the books I believe you should have, can I call you out for ignorance?

        • thanks for proving my point

          What point?

          What if I read everything and still reject, I must then have learning disability, correct?

          One explanation, but not the most plausible. You’d be like the millions of Christians who feel that evolution is an affront to their invisible and impotent God, and so they feel duty bound to attack it.

          Or maybe as the flood of irrefutable evidence waves across my synapses, I will be awoken from my purgatory of Christianity.

          Science has deconverted some Christians, though deconversion is obviously pretty rare.

          I never said your view sucks. I have repeatedly said it seems implausible.

          And I’ve repeatedly said that your evaluation of a field you don’t understand is worthless. Unimportant. Laughable. Embarrassing.

          Curious, which religious commentaries, by Christian authors, have you studied?

          I’m back at square 1 with “Does God exist?” As such, I focus on apologetics books—Turek, Craig, Montgomery, Jim Wallace, Habermas, Kreeft, Flew/Varghese and others on the Christian side, plus more on the atheist side. Books about how to live your life as a good Christian don’t interest me.

          If you haven’t read the books I have or the books I believe you should have, can I call you out for ignorance?

          If it’s a relevant topic, go for it.

        • MNb

          “What if I read everything and still reject”
          1. You don’t have to read everything; nobody asked you to. I made three suggestions above; it’s what I read.
          2. I don’t expect you to do anything but still rejecting Evolution Theory. That’s what you’re a science denier for. However it would save you from many stupidities.

        • Susan

          Thanks for proofreading.

          It was more than a typo.

          I haven’t read the proper books or the books that you have read.

          You haven’t demonstrated that you’ve read anything on the subject. What have you read?

          Obviously, that is because I am to stupid to fall in line like a good secular humanist.

          No. It’s because you are pissing on a field of science which you seem to have no knowledge about.

          Nor do you seem interested in it.

        • No, we simply suggest that you have some modest education about evolution before you come here to tell us how much it sucks. You don’t have to, but otherwise your ignorance will be highlighted and laughed at.

        • MNb

          Well, you already have made clear you’re not the smartest guy around here, but neither am I and I managed to study and master the basics of Evolution Theory within a week.

          http://www.talkorigins.org

          http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-What-Fossils-Say-Matters/dp/0231139624

          http://www.amazon.com/Why-Evolution-True-Jerry-Coyne/dp/0143116649

          Reading this will save you from producing most of the turds you have placed on this blog.

        • Greg G.

          They follow where the evidence leads and make their determinations based on the evidence. You are confused about the dating there. It is thought that humans split from the chimpanzee line about 6 or 7 million years ago. The evidence suggests the ape line split from the tailed monkey line about 35 million years ago.

          Also, the human/chimpanzee line split from gorillas abut a million years before the human line split from chimpanzees. Like it or not, chimpanzees and bonobos are more closely related to humans than they are to gorillas. Gorillas are more closely related to humans than they are to orangutans. This is shown by the fossil record, DNA comparisons, and physiology.

          EDIT: Changed bonbons back to bonobos. Now I crave chocolate.

        • Even if evolution were untrue, that wouldn’t mean YHWH did it.

        • Dear Lord–another ill-informed evolution denier.

          My suggestion: accept that as a layman, you are in no position to reject the consensus of the scientists who actually understand the evidence (unlike you and me).

        • MNb

          “It is a never ending list of theoretical positions based on what we see today.”
          Well, you haven’t seen how your god created the whole shenanigan either.

          “There is almost a god complex within science.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          My dear silly JBS, pick a random scientific text – a book, a magazine, whatever. It doesn’t matter much which science: physics, chemistry, biology (but no creacrap please – that’s not science). You won’t find the word god even once.

          “I don’t have the faith to accept it.”

          Finally something sensible! See, neither have we. We have something better – empirical evidence and coherent and consistent theories.

        • primenumbers

          “Why would caring for others be beneficial? ” – are you seriously asking that? Do you think you could have developed the computer you’re using on your own? Do you think you could survive against nature on your own from being a baby through to whatever age you are now?

        • JBSchmidt

          If you think we evolved from apes, do you think you can apply today’s reasoning with that creature. Even the apes at that time would have had to be under developed by today’s standards.

          I fail to see how caring for offspring is necessarily a moral obligation by animal kingdom standards. I also don’t think the original hominids were pre-planning the proper genetic relationships to eventually produce a Steve Jobs. I think they would have had to be alive for purely selfish motives. Those distant ‘relatives’ may have been social, but trying to apply today’s human or ape traits is kind of like me trying to make my jeans look like the outfit of an Egyptian.

        • primenumbers

          Why don’t you answer the questions that are asked? Do you think you could have developed the computer you’re using on your own? Do you think you could survive against nature on your own from being a baby through to whatever age you are now?

        • JBSchmidt

          Because they are pointless.

          Could I, no. Could someone, yes.

          Already addressed.

          Furthermore, since the origin of life and the universe is based on the statistical probability that given enough time and material it could happen. Your questions can be answered in the same way.

        • primenumbers

          No pointless questions at all but a solid reason why we work better as a community than as individuals.

          And it’s not just whether you could have developed the computer you’re using on your own, but whether anyone could without millennia of cooperation and the development of society.

          Remember you said : “Why would caring for others be beneficial? Its seems simply being the biggest and strongest keeps me the safest.” – caring for others is the key to society, and any society is going to be vastly bigger and stronger than any individual.

        • It’s hard to appreciate all the support that we have that comforts us and insulates us from reality.

        • MNb
        • They keep bringing up this tired argument as if they’re the first to stumble over it.

        • Greg G.

          We do act like apes because we are apes. We have common behaviors with gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos. Frans De Waal concluded in a book, Chimpanzee Politics, recommended by Newt Gingrich to freshmen Republicans in Congress that “the roots of politics are older than humanity”.

        • JBSchmidt

          Think of the morality if we all acted like politicians. We would be throwing feces at each other.

          “We have common behaviors with gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos.”

          Doesn’t that assume, when evolution allowed us to have cognitive ability, the apes were already at that stage and we evolved from there?

        • Greg G.

          Doesn’t that assume, when evolution allowed us to have cognitive ability, the apes were already at that stage and we evolved from there?

          It seems more like an inference from the evidence than an assumption. We have common ancestors with chimpanzees that were neither chimpanzee or human. We have common ancestors with gorillas that were neither gorilla, chimpanzee or human. Our common ancestors with orangutans, gorillas, and chimpanzees would probably have had cognitive abilities. Our brains increased in size to have more cognitive abilities. Gorillas and chimpanzees can communicate with humans using sign language. So cognitive abilities are a matter of degree. But even monkeys have hierarchies in their troops and politics have a role in those, too. Even wolf packs work through canine politics.

        • Greg G.

          https://youtu.be/aAIGVT3N7B0

          Here’s the video showing that chimpanzees short term memory is better than that of humans. There’s one of the 7 year old chimp being interrupted by a disturbance outside after he started, but he turned around and finished it like it was easy as pie.

        • I’ve also heard that birds (like corvids) are better than people at picking the bigger pile. For example, one bowl has 12 nuts and the other has 13–the corvids are very good at picking the bowl with more.

        • Kodie

          You don’t know very much about apes.

        • JBSchmidt

          You have a very low opinion of people.

        • Susan

          You have a very low opinion of people.

          There’s nothing ‘low’ about it. Even if there were, the evidence supports it.

          You have a very low opinion of apes and as Kodie says, you don’t know very much about them.

        • JBSchmidt

          No, I just happen to believe that humans are uniquely different and uniquely blessed.

        • Susan

          I just happen to believe that humans are uniquely different

          Everything’s uniquely different.

          and uniquely blessed.

          Define ‘blessed’.

          We’re apes. Mountains of evidence support that.

          We’re not gorillas though gorillas are apes. We are apes.

          The worst kind of logic derives “All apes are human.” from “All humans are apes.”

          Like this.

          P1. All bats are mammals.
          C. All mammals are bats.

        • JBSchmidt

          “Everything’s uniquely different.”
          That’s a shallow response.

          We are blessed to be pinnacle of creation and in the image of our creator.

        • Susan

          That’s a shallow response.

          To a shallow assertion. In my most charitable assessment, if I were to grant ‘the uniqueness of humans’, I can point to all kinds of other earthlings that are unique too. “Uniqueness” isn’t special. 😉

          We are blessed to be pinnacle of creation and in the image of our creator.

          Another shallow assertion.

        • MNb

          Hence you lick the boots of your creator and kick the heads of everyone underneath you. That’s christian humility.

        • Believe whatever you want. If you want us to take it seriously, provide your reasons.

        • MNb

          Because you’re an arrogant christian, however claims humility. Thanks for openly showing your hypocrisy.

        • Kodie

          Have you taken a look at people?

        • JBSchmidt

          HA! Got me.

        • The historical record of The Wizard of Oz is filled with fulfilled promises.

          Maybe we should take a step back to make sure that these “authorities” really are.

        • Yes, human morality and jurisprudence are imperfect and, again, you act as if you have something better. Show us.

        • MNb

          “Your grounding for morality ….”
          Not my grounding.

          “the concepts devised by some cultural anthropologists”
          Cultural anthropologists don’t devise those concepts – they study them. Those concepts are devised by the humans they study.
          You’re not the smartest guy around, are you?

          “who have decreed”
          Culturual anthropologists don’t decree. Of course religious authorities do, and submissive christian as you are, lacking critical thinking skills, you accept decrees issued by ignorants 2000+ years ago without any further do.

          “After submitting to that ideology,”
          No, I don’t, because there is no such ideology. I have my own morals. Unlike you I’m not arrogant enough to falsely claim they are used by every single human being on Earth.

          “you must further submit to the government”
          Yeah and so do you. Unless we prefer to be punished. That’s what the government has a judicial system for, you know.

          “your spouse (be faithful)”
          You don’t? If that’s not a problem for you, why should it be for me?

          “your neighbor and anyone else you encounter in your life (do unto others.”
          Yeah. Again – if it’s not a problem for you, why should it be for me?
          Of course I get a few things in return. The government also protects me, my female counterpart is faithful to me as well, my neighbour and anyone behaves pleasantly to me as well.

          “All of your interaction are governed by those individuals.”
          Yeah – that’s actually how interaction is defined. It takes two to tango, you know. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to live on a deserted island.

          “Your life plays no roll in the ultimate expanse of the universe,”

          Indeed I leave such arrogance to christians like you, who hence look like hypocrites when they claim modesty.

          “yet you still submit as if it does.”

          That’s nonsense. I submit because it’s highly unpleasant to rebel against the universe. Ask any LSD-user who tried to fly.

          “You are little more than an ape at the bottom of the pecking order”

          Indeed. Again I leave the arrogance to think I’m more to christian hypocrites like you.

          But do you know what the nice thing is? Morality like this one respects the interests of the apes at the bottom of the pecking order as well.

          “and the decreed social structure”

          The social structure is not decreed, silly ignorant. It’s the result of historical developments.

          “allows for no individual advancement.”
          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          This is plain stupid. As an individual I have quite advanced in the few decades I have spend on Earth thus far. But yeah – I don’t take all credit for myself. Lots of people have helped me. In return I help other individuals to advance as well.

          “You may claim that we have become more civilized, but that is just a rationalization trying to disguise the weakness in your submission.”
          Of course it’s a rationalization. But I don’t disguise anything. If you call it a weakness that I can’t do whatever I feel like, like christian you who thinks he will be forgiven on Sunday after confessing, repenting and putting his fate in the hands of a guy who has been dead for about 2000 years, well, so be it. I’m perfectly fine with that weakness.

          “an endless line of earth daddies. None of which give a crap about what you want/need/think.”

          Wrong. Totally wrong. It shows your lack of self confidence. My loved ones and many other people think it highly relevant what I want/need/think.
          You make one stupid mistake, you see. If all this applies to me – and why not, if stripped off all the unnecessary negative formulations, which say more about you than about me – it all applies to other people as well, including the people I interact with in daily life.
          Heck, your very comment shows how wrong you are. You only react to me because you give a crap indeed about what I think. You’re just not smart and/or honest enough to realize it.

        • TheNuszAbides

          Erase God, fine. You only put yourself under the authority of every other person on the planet.

          asserted without evidence. “i’m a sovereign nation of one!” anybody can say this – and exactly like moral behavior, it doesn’t require a foundation of attributing anything to a transcendent, all-powerful or even extra-super-powerful entity.

        • So “subjective” means that I can’t judge others? I do judge others, often and with pleasure. I think one of us is confused about definitions here.

        • TheNuszAbides

          If you’re wanting a very concise definition of “immoral” you’re not going to find one which is useful or ultimately meaningful.

          but it seems the nature of JB’s attachment to The Greatest-Narrative-Ever-Told Club precludes the ability to afford to entertain the notion that said club’s ‘objective’ standard is anything as mundane as yet another example of the universe’s* subjective standards.

          *or at least the animal kingdom’s – or at least humanity’s – or at least science’s … (perhaps i’m overdoing it – we could perhaps agree that ‘standard’ by definition implies subjectivity in the overarching context.)

        • MNb

          “How perfectly subjective.”
          That’s the entire point, silly.

          “Who gets to determine what constitutes ‘harm’?Who gets to determine ‘sufficient reason’?”
          For myself: I, MNb.
          For the group: the members of that group.

        • Subjective? You don’t like subjective? Perhaps you have something better?

          Show us.

    • Ron

      “What ability do you have claim the actions of another are immoral?”

      Aural and written communications.

      “Further, if those actions are perpetrated against you, what right do you have to be made whole in a ‘justice’ sense?”

      The rights and protections afforded by the state.

    • MNb

      “What ability do you have claim the actions of another are immoral?”
      My brains have the ability to think and feel, especially empathy. Sometimes I wonder if christians like you have that ability, depending as they are on an imaginary sky fairy with a horrible and badly outdated Holy Book.

      “Further, if those actions are perpetrated against you, what right do you have to be made whole in a ‘justice’ sense?”
      The law.

  • Kelly Karoly

    I’m wondering why the nonexistence of a god automatically means morality is not objective.

    • Greg G.

      What benefits one person may be detrimental to another person. We can always think of exceptions to any rule. It may be wrong to kill someone but it may be necessary to kill in some circumstances because it is the lesser of the evils. Is it wrong to steal? What if you steal from someone who wastes food while your child is starving? If morality was objective, it would mean killing is either wrong or not wrong, stealing is either wrong or not wrong, regardless of the situation.

      • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

        Apologists conflate objective morals with absolute morals.

        It is objectively wrong to kill or steal – the exceptions to these objective rules are entirely circumstantial, as in it is wrong to kill except when it is apparent that you’re life or the life of others are in immediate threat or danger – or it is wrong to steal except when you’re literally starving and you’re at a point where it’s either steal food to eat or die.

        Absolute morals are – absolute. It is always wrong and never right to kill. It is always wrong and never right to steal.

        When apologists talk about objective morality, they really mean absolute morality.

        • Kelly Karoly

          That explains so much.

      • TheNuszAbides

        what if it’s Bog’s plan to waste that food in order to test your resolve to prefer authoritarian heaven over your progeny’s puny earthly well-being! checkmate, atheist!

    • That would be the Christian argument.

      If you’re saying that objective morality can be grounded in some way besides in a god, OK. Are you arguing for that?

      • Kelly Karoly

        Yes

  • A no no mouse 14 yearoldBowman

    Of course science cannot persecute people, it’s just a thing. We Christians use the same evidence you use to support evolution. However one of us is wrong. Why should morality be objective or even a thing without a god? Why should you care? Not proving you wrong, but why should you? Is because it’s the right thing to do? But how do you tell right from wrong? Answer, there then is no right or wrong without a god, only ideal of man that is arbitrary without the support of a universal law that is not made by the man or woman.

    • Kodie

      What a depressing person you are. We’re all in this together, and if we don’t try to get along, life gets pretty miserable. Of course, reality doesn’t offer some fantasy afterlife you get to remedy your endurance.

    • MNb

      “We Christians use the same evidence”
      Christians who accept Evolution Theory indeed do. Some of them are even instrumental at developing and improving it.
      This christian however does not use the same evidence:

      https://answersingenesis.org/geology/radiometric-dating/

      He explicitly rejects the evidence coming from radiometric dating.
      He also explicitly rejects the evidence coming from geology:

      http://phys.org/news/2015-04-evolution-basic-geology-creationism.html

      What about you? Do you use the evidence? All the evidence? Unconditionally? If no you’re a science denier.

      “But how do you tell right from wrong? Answer, there then is no right or wrong without a god,”
      How sad, especially as you’re just 14, that you have abandoned your critical thinking skills already. One of my great pleasures of teaching kids of 12-16 years old is to observe how they develop them – and love to criticize authorities like me. And because they are fresh they manage to offer new viewpoints.
      But not you. You have harmed yourself mentally, ‘cuz god.
      How do I tell right from wrong without a god? What do you think, that secular people have been too stupid for 200 years to realize that’s a question? Jeremy Bentham was the first. Daniel Fincke, on this same Patheos-Atheist, can lecture you for hours.
      My answer: everything that contributes to happiness is right. Everything that damages happiness is wrong. And then the interesting part begins, because something that contributes to the happiness of X may very well damage the happiness of Y.
      But I don’t feel like giving you a free lecture today. Just google “secular morality” and “secular moral philosophy” if your question is a genuine one and not a rhetorical trick. In the first case there is still hope for you – 14 year olds are supposed to be curious. In the latter case I can only pity you – so young and already more closed minded than old geezers like BobS and me are supposed to be.

    • Pofarmer

      “Why should morality be objective or even a thing without a god?”

      Because we’re a social species of evolved primates?

      “Why should you care? Not proving you wrong, but why should you”

      Becuase caring leads to survival? It’s another evolved trait.

      “But how do you tell right from wrong? ”

      Many of our ideas of right and wrong also come from the societies we are raised in. Different groups have different morals.

      If you have some evidence of hour “universal mora law” that would be great. Maybe you could at least define what you mean. I would also challenge you to read Patricia Churchland’s “briantrust” to get an idea for the evolutionary argument for morality.

    • We Christians use the same evidence you use to support evolution. However one of us is wrong.

      You didn’t answer my previous question. I asked if you reject evolution.

      Why should morality be objective or even a thing without a god?

      I see no evidence for objective morality, so I reject that. I see plenty of evidence for morality, so I accept that.

      Get it?

      But how do you tell right from wrong?

      The same way you do, in my own imperfect way. Surely you’ve interacted with people enough to understand how people weigh evidence and make moral conclusions.

      Or are you new to this planet?

  • free_thinker

    I realize I am coming late to the party, as it were, but the quotation above is amusingly biased and incorrect in it’s logic.

    Science has never killed or persecuted a single person
    for doubting or denying its teachings,
    and most of these teachings have been true;
    but religion has murdered millions for doubting or denying her dogmas,
    and most of these dogmas have been false.
    — George P. Spencer

    Religion, per se, has not killed anyone. Instead the application of religion has. Likewise, science has not killed anyone, but the application of it has.

    • Greg G.

      Read the rest of the quote. Science doesn’t kill people for doubting or denying its teachings, nor do its proponents. Proponents of religion do because their religion requires it.

      Deuteronomy 13:6-10 (NRSV)6 If anyone secretly entices you—even if it is your brother, your father’s son or your mother’s son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend—saying, “Let us go worship other gods,” whom neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 any of the gods of the peoples that are around you, whether near you or far away from you, from one end of the earth to the other, 8 you must not yield to or heed any such persons. Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. 9 But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10 Stone them to death for trying to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

      • free_thinker

        You are right. I apologize. That’s what they hand out in churches now a days: Assorted weapons with which to kill our neighbors with.

        Anywho, my point is that science and religion can coexist. They are not in opposition to each other.

        Further, I could easily replace “science” with “artists” and achieve the same effect: see art doesn’t kill people, religion does. Look it’s a pointless relation.

        • epeeist

          Anywho, my point is that science and religion can coexist.

          The problem comes when religions claim one thing and science claims another. I am aware of many instances of religious “explanations” being replaced by scientific ones but not one instance of a naturalistic explanation being replaced by a religious one.

          They are not in opposition to each other.

          The “conflict theory” has long been discarded. It sounds as though you are arguing for “non-overlapping magisteria”, but that way leads inevitably to truth relativism.

        • Greg G.

          Anywho, my point is that science and religion can coexist. They are not in opposition to each other.

          Science follows from the evidence. If there is a conflict, science is not to blame.

          Religion has a conflict with global warming caused by human activities. That leads to certain politicians controlling congressional committees that are meant to deal with the problem. Those politicians may be religious nuts themselves or representing a base of religious nuts. Either way, there are entities with profit motives willing to use them by giving them support.

        • free_thinker

          How, pray tell, does religion conflict with global warming?

        • Greg G.
        • free_thinker

          Unfortunately, there are those who take what the Bible says out of context. Worse, there are those who take a particular passage and just ascribe some application that relates to them without understanding what the passage is actually about. In other words they can draw conclusions that just are not there, and were never intended. This can be likened to, say, crack-pot scientists, who draw wild conclusions that cannot be drawn from their invalid hypotheses.

        • Greg G.

          The “out of context” accusation is often made by Bible-thumpers even when the meaning of the extracted part is not changed by taking it out of context. I could point to many verses that say “there is no god” but the context is “there is no god besides me” or “the fool says in his heart, ‘there is no god'”. That is where “out of context” is applicable. But it seems that most of the time “out of context” is claimed, it is irrelevant. There are passages like stoning one’s son for being sassy that, no matter how you say it, is horrible.

          Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NRSV)18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father and mother, who does not heed them when they discipline him, 19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the gate of that place. 20 They shall say to the elders of his town, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death. So you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel will hear, and be afraid.

          OTOH, creationists have quotemining down to an art form.

          In science, a hypothesis can be put forth with predictions that can be tested, which could falsify the hypothesis. If the hypothesis is not falsifiable, then it is not a scientific explanation.

          Einstein would have been one of those “crack-pot scientists” when he put forth a hypothesis that predicted that light could be bent by gravity which implied gravitational lensing. But it turned out to be testable. An astronomer noticed that a star would be behind the edge of the sun from the earth during an eclipse. If Einstein’s hypothesis was correct, that star should be visible.

          Astronomers spread out over the path of the eclipse to verify it. Not only did they see the star, it was precisely where Einstein’s equations predicted it would be.

        • free_thinker

          I was referring to extreme fundamentalist folk who are referred to from the Washington Post links that you gave. Some people misapply verses in the Bible. In the case in point, I’m guessing verses from Revelation to justify that there is not global warming (I can’t find specific verses, just generalizations).

          Further, I was using “crack-pot science” to illustrate that some can use scientific techniques (rather loosely) to justify unjustifiable conclusions. Such as those found here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_topics_characterized_as_pseudoscience

          I do not see how Einstein would have been labeled as a crack-pot scientist as he hypothesized lensing via mathematical formulae that stemmed from general relativity.

          What I am trying to say is that there are some scientists that are Christians, who have no qualms rectifying global warming with their religion. Meaning, that the two spheres (science and religion) need not overlap, i.e., the “non-overlapping magisteria” that was referred to by epeeist below.

          As far as the Old Testament passages you keep quoting, I suppose it is good that you are not an orthodox Jew under the Mosaic law, otherwise they would apply to you.

        • Greg G.

          I do not see how Einstein would have been labeled as a crack-pot scientist as he hypothesized lensing via mathematical formulae that stemmed from general relativity.

          Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity Was Initially Met With a Universal Eye-Roll
          https://curiosity.com/topics/einsteins-special-theory-of-relativity-was-initially-met-with-a-universal-eye-roll-curiosity/

          Criticism of the theory of relativity
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_theory_of_relativity

          The Reaction to Relativity Theory I: The Anti-Einstein Campaign in Germany in 1920
          https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/science-in-context/article/reaction-to-relativity-theory-i-the-antieinstein-campaign-in-germany-in-1920/A3FD21325FB94F96BAFC3C757E7C546C

          The first article has a paragraph that says nobody took his paper seriously except the Germans who opposed it. That made the rest of the world pay more attention.

          What I am trying to say is that there are some scientists that are Christians, who have no qualms rectifying global warming with their religion. Meaning, that the two spheres (science and religion) need not overlap, i.e., the “non-overlapping magisteria” that was referred to by epeeist below.

          One can adapt a religious belief to be consistent with science but it comes down the the initial religious assumptions. Some can adapt and some cannot. Polls have been consistent for decades with about 40% of the US believing the earth is less than 20,000 years old. That gives them political power. 80% of the white evangelicals voted for Trump.

          As far as the Old Testament passages you keep quoting, I suppose it is good that you are not an orthodox Jew under the Mosaic law, otherwise they would apply to you.

          To understand the fundamentalist/evangelical/bible-thumper mind, you have to understand what they believe and they believe the Bible. Many accept the 1611 King James Version over the Greek manuscripts.

          They eschew higher education, unless it is in a conservative Bible college, because they see that it leads to children bending religion to science.

        • Lysenkoism (the Soviet version of evolution) would be another example of politically driven science.

          my point is that science and religion can coexist. They are not in opposition to each other.

          Perhaps you’re right, with an emphasis on can. When fundamentalist Christianity forces adherents to reject evolution, that to me is an example of them no coexisting.

        • Joe

          Take, for example the proponents of Nazi science.

          I wasn’t aware there were different types of science?

          You are aware there a religions with specific introductions to murder under certain circumstances, but I can’t find any such doctrines in science.

      • richardrichard2013

        they say that this is the out of date old covenant, but god in the ot says no other nation has laws as good as his.