A Distillation of Crazy

A Distillation of Crazy October 15, 2018

John Warwick Montgomery was the William Lane Craig of his day. According to his web site, he is “considered by many to be the foremost living apologist for biblical Christianity.” He’s quite proud of his 11 earned degrees, including three doctorates, and he likes to be introduced using the European convention, “Dr Dr Dr Montgomery.”

I attended his two-week International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights in Strasbourg, France in 2011. Despite assurances to the contrary, it didn’t make me a believer.

I went to find the best apologetics arguments. Was the good stuff backstage, reserved for the serious students of the art? I wanted to see. What I found was the same tired arguments.

Dr Dr Dr Montgomery was a guest on a Christian radio show and was asked to respond to Bart Ehrman’s book How Jesus Became God (2014). Here are a few excerpts that highlight the thinking of the “foremost living apologist.” I think you’ll agree that it’s a rich vein of crazy.

I suppose it’s nice that [Ehrman] wants everybody to love each other, but if there isn’t any god and there’s no last judgment, I’d like to know why anyone should bother with anybody else. I mean certainly, it would be looking out for Number One. . . . It would be a matter of feathering our own nest and certainly not paying attention to anybody else.

You don’t know why anyone should bother with anyone else? The reason isn’t hard to find—evolution selects for positive traits like trustworthiness, generosity, and self-sacrifice in social animals like apes (which includes us). We find those traits laudable because evolution has made that part of our programming. But the reason is irrelevant. We obviously don’t just look out for Number One, so Montgomery’s instincts have led him astray.

If being a Christian is what’s keeping some people from being thieves and murderers, I guess it’s good that they’re Christian.

Montgomery continues:

And all of the horrors of atheistic totalitarianisms could never be criticized; there isn’t any last judgment; Hitler and Stalin—they just die like anybody else, and they can get away with it.

(1) Show me just one person killed in the name of atheism. Can’t do it, can you? There is nothing behind atheism except for the lack of belief in gods—that’s all it is. Christianity and other religions, by contrast, have libraries of books analyzing their holy books and traditions—or criticizing the analysis or traditions of other sects of their religion.

(I respond to the “Stalin was a murderer and he was an atheist!” argument here.)

Atheism makes no moral claims or demands. It provides no moral framework. That’s not a lack; it’s just a fact. (Contrast it with the elaborate morality we find in the Bible that looks pretty shabby when examined in a modern light.)

(2) Montgomery says that the horrors of evil regimes “could never be criticized,” but of course nonbelievers criticize wrongdoing all the time. What he means, I’m sure, is that they can’t criticize while also rejecting Christianity’s objective morality. But that’s nonsense as well. There is no evidence supporting claims of objective morality. My moral relativism (morality is sourced inside people, not outside) has no problem pointing out errors. Where you and I differ on moral issues, I think you’re wrong—who does it any differently?

(3) He thinks that evil dictators have their way with the world and then just die, avoiding any punishment.

In the first place, that a worldview has a more pleasing view about something than another is no indication of the correctness of that worldview. I hope we can agree that truth is the bottom line.

In the second, yeah, bad people sometimes just get away with it. That bothers me, too, but what are you going to do about it? It’s reality. Aren’t we adults here? I can’t consider this view without imagining a furious red-faced five-year-old stamping her feet because she didn’t get her way.

In the third place, why is the Christian view of justice any more satisfying? Maybe Stalin or Hitler had deathbed conversions. They could be up in heaven right now, playing canasta with Jesus or giving him a foot massage. How is that justice for their crimes?

Once more from Montgomery:

A society without a foundation in a belief in God and in the last judgment is a society in which people will try to get away with anything they possibly can, and it’s simply an invitation to chaos, bedlam, and anarchy. Poor Ehrman is obviously entirely unaware of the consequences of the belief system that he represents.

Chaos, bedlam, and anarchy? I’ll keep that in mind if I need a name for a band. Or a blog.

Evolution nicely explains why people don’t always try to get away with murder. And history is full of non-Christian societies from around the world where people were sort of good and sort of bad, just like today—ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, for starters.

As for clueless Ehrman bumbling through life unaware of what his belief system means, I often hear this obnoxious and groundless confidence. I guess you double down on confidence when you don’t have an actual argument.

If the Bible and my brain are both the work of the same infinite god,
whose fault is it that the book and my brain do not agree?
— Robert G. Ingersoll

.

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 12/19/14.)

Wikimedia / Image public domain

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  • Jim Jones

    > In the third place, why is the Christian view of justice any more satisfying? Maybe Stalin or Hitler had deathbed conversions.

    Hitler remained a fully communicating Catholic until the day of his death. Anne Frank died a faithful Jew.

    My question: Is it fair that Jesus died on the cross so that Adolf Hitler could go to heaven and Anne Frank would go to hell? Is it just that Jesus rose from the dead so that Jeffrey Dahmer could go to heaven and Carl Sagan would go to hell?

    Apologists are awful.

    Conrad Black and John Lennox do a terrible job of supporting Christianity.

    https://youtu.be/cPV11XJllkk?t=43

    Conrad Black: The shabby, shallow world of the militant atheist

    https://nationalpost.com/opinion/conrad-black-the-shabby-shallow-world-of-the-militant-atheist

    Conrad Black: A reply to my atheist critics — they protest too much

    https://nationalpost.com/opinion/conrad-black-a-reply-to-my-atheist-critics-they-protest-too-much

    • I kind of doubt Black is really a believer. That would require admitting there’s a power higher than himself.

      • Jim Jones

        It astonishes me that he thinks that John Lennox is a competent and convincing apologist.

    • epicurus

      John Lennox makes me gag- he plays up his unrelated academic credentials and then makes the most asinine, out of touch apologetic comments.

      Heck, John LennoN would make a better Christian Apologist.

      • Ignorant Amos

        How do ya think he makes me feel…I cringe when he opens his gob…am embarrassed to be a fellow Northern Irishman…between him and that other Northern Irish religious goatskin Alistair McGrath…apologetic fuckwits both.

        • epicurus

          Uuggh, McGrath, I tried to get through his “The Twilight of Atheism,” but couldn’t do it if I wanted to preserve my sanity.

    • Good point. I should’ve said “deathbed confessions that made them right with God.”

    • Lennox is “one of the most rational and persuasive advocates of a Christian theistic view of the world.”

      Y’know, he might actually be right. Lennox’s pathetic, sad, credulous, and childish arguments might be about as good as they get.

    • Mike Panic

      The christian view of justice is so satisfying because they get to beat and hideously torture confessions out of anyone they think might be guilty. THEN they kill them for “confessing.”

      • Jim Jones

        Sounds like the Saud ‘family’.

        • Mike Panic

          Maybe they sawed him into little pieces while still alive?

        • Jim Jones

          God knows. Those fuckers need a bullet to the brain.

      • Greg G.

        Don’t forget about killing them AFTER they torture the victim until they implicate others, then do the same to the other people.

        • Mike Panic

          OOPS! LOL

  • RichardSRussell

    Maybe Stalin or Hitler had deathbed conversions.

    Hitler didn’t need a deathbed conversion. “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.”—Adolf Hitler, to General Gerhard Engel, 1941

    So, according to certain theologies, he had a “get out of hell free” card tucked into his canasta deck. So much for the superiority of “objective” religious morality.

    • Well, according to Catholicism at least he would need to have gotten absolved first (and they can’t absolve suicide). Rudolf Hoss though, the Auschwitz commandant, did indeed do this prior to being hanged. Thus by Catholic doctrine yes, he’ll be in Heaven eventually.

      • RichardSRussell

        My main point, admittedly not clearly stated, was that it’s simply inaccurate to paint Hitler’s atrocities as the inevitable result of his atheism, because he wasn’t an atheist.

        • epicurus

          Yes, there are no shortages of him mentioning God, destiny, providence, etc in his speeches, if he really were an atheist, it would seem odd.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Atheists were barred from SS membership.

          “What is your oath?” “I vow to you, Adolf Hitler, as Führer and chancellor of the German Reich loyalty and bravery. I vow to you and to the leaders that you set for me, absolute allegiance until death. So help me God !” “So you believe in a God ?” – “Yes, I believe in a Lord God.” “What do you think about a man who does not believe in a God ?” – “I think he is arrogant, megalomaniacal and stupid; he is not eligible for us.”

          https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Waffen-SS#Atheism

        • epicurus

          And we don’t even need to start on Hitler’s love of Wagnerian opera, no shortage of divinity in those (although I’ve never felt like sitting through a Ring Cycle to verify that)

        • Oh, well I agree with that of course. Whatever his specific beliefs, he definitely appears to have believed in a god.

        • Clint W. (Thought2Much)

          After the atrocities committed by Hitler and Stalin, the thing we must realize is that it’s not atheists we must fear, nor Christians, but men with mustaches.

        • Wile F. Coyote

          Case in point: John Bolton, current National Security Advisor (I shit you not)

        • RichardSRussell

          I quake in my boots at the mere contemplation of Tom Selleck and Geraldo Rivera, to say nothing of the total meltdown I’d suffer in their actual presence.

        • epeeist
        • That’s some serious mustachery.

        • RichardSRussell

          Thank you, Crocodile Dundee!

        • Pofarmer

          Ok.. That’s funny shit right there.

        • Greg G.

          But they didn’t have pencil-thin mustaches, not like suave Errol Flynn:

          https://youtu.be/cXQS4S3vgGA

        • Another man, another mustache.

          QUOTE: “According to the works of the Iranian historian Rashid al-Din (1247–1318), the Mongols killed more than 700,000 people in Merv and more than a million in Nishapur. The total population of Persia may have dropped from 2,500,000 to 250,000 as a result of mass extermination and famine.” UN-QUOTE

          Image of Gengis Khan

          https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/assassinscreed/images/6/6e/AC_WIYB_Genghis_Khan.PNG

      • Ignorant Amos

        Did he commit suicide though?

        The story goes that he took cyanide and then shot himself in the swede. A bit of overkill if ya ask me. A recent examination of his remains found blue stains on his teeth, evidence of cyanide poisoning, but no evidence of the gun shot.

        Only Hitler and Eva were in the room at the time they died…allegedly. A gunshot was heard and when their private rooms were entered, the both of them were tatty bread. It’s most likely he did off himself and Eva…but nothing is certain.

        *end of conspiracy theory* //s

        • Greg G.

          The story goes that he took cyanide and then shot himself in the swede.

          Maybe didn’t like the taste of cyanide and wanted to get it out of his mouth.

        • epicurus

          He should have splurged and got mint flavoured.

        • Ignorant Amos

          He was following instructions from his doctor would ya believe…cyanide then one in the head should do the trick.

          The twat tested the cyanide on his pet Alsatian, Bondi.

        • What I heard is it didn’t work, or not fast enough so perhaps he had to shoot himself.

        • islandbrewer
        • epicurus

          Did you see any of that horrible series “Hunting Hitler” from the history channel? I couldn’t even get through one episode because of the mindless “let’s stretch 3 minutes of info into a 50 minute episode.”

          Then imagine the horror of discovering it’s gone 3 seasons! Unbelievable!

        • islandbrewer

          3 seasons? That’s speaks of desperation … or obsession.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Didn’t see it, but read about it. The “expert” that claimed to have examined the Russian held remains was lying about seeing the remains held by the Russkies. The Russians say no such a person was ever near the place. Of course who can trust anything they say, but in light of the more recent investigation, it seems a reasonable claim.

          A team of French experts last year did examine the alleged remains of Hitler that were recovered from the shallow grave beside the bunker in Berlin. The jaw bone and dentistry were compared with records and found to be those of Adolf. Blue stains on teeth is evidence of cyanide poisoning. No evidence of a gunshot were discovered, but that just means the examination was inconclusive regarding that claim. Depending on where old Adolf put the gun to his head.

          https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/21/612932451/french-researchers-hitler-really-did-die-in-the-bunker-in-1945?t=1539687605820

          Of course conspiracy theorists could claim Hitler’s dentist was complicit in the escape plan. But that’s the nature of CT’s.

          A read somewhere that he wasn’t officially declared dead until 1956, but conspiracy theories abound. The escape in a submarine to South America being a favourite.

          Then there was “The Boys from Brazil”. That was in colour, so must be true. //s

        • epicurus

          The episode I tried to watch was about Hitler escaping to South America and how there were documents the cia, or whatever it was called back then, had documentation supporting this. Whether right or wrong, what made it intolerable for me was the constant recapping, irrelevant background info and interviews. All of course are necessary when you are trying to stretch 10 minutes of actual info into a series that goes 3 seasons.

        • Ignorant Amos

          A bucket of shite from China then?

          I won’t go trying to find it then…thanks for the heads up.

        • Greg G.

          I remember when The History Channel was interesting, before it became The Hitler Channel.

        • epicurus

          Yea, they love to use clickbait titles. Well for tv I guess would be remote bait. In the old days you might hear something like amazing wepons of the German Army, or the luftwaffe or something. Nowadays, that’s rare – everything is called Nazi weapons, or Hitler’s army, the nazi army, etc.

        • ildi

          They did the same thing with Jack the Ripper in the series tying him to H. H. Holmes. I started it, not realizing they dragged it out into an eight-parter, but they the end of the first one I was grinding my teeth at the slow as molasses pace. I.no.longer.cared. [delete]

        • epicurus

          painful

        • I guess we’ll never know for sure, but the evidence indicates that. Cyanide would do it even if he didn’t also shoot himself.

        • epicurus

          I always just assumed it was just a bit of insurance – people have shot themselves in the head and still lived, and I imagine it’s possible that a poison capsule might be defective in some way, so if you have both and really, really, really don’t want to live and be captured, then capsule and bullet together should ensure that.

        • That could be too. Apparently it was tested on Hitler’s dog Blondi first, which killed the poor thing (he was inconsolable they say). It might have inspired him to choose a quicker method.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Unless one is very unlucky and took a ropey cyanide capsule and then fucked up the bullet to the napper.

          Mind you, Hitler was a lucky bugger when it came to juking assassination attempts.

          Maybe the one in the loaf was a coup de grâce by a loyal follower and they were sworn to secrecy. Seems that wherever in the head he was shot, the evidence from the experts suggests it wasn’t in the mouth, where it is supposedly most efficient. But then the weapon being used might play a big part too.

        • Greg G.

          Unless one is very unlucky and took a ropey cyanide capsule and then fucked up the bullet to the napper.

          If I was to do it, my method would be along these lines:

          1. Take poison.
          2. Jump out of a plane without a chute.
          3. Shoot myself in the head as many times as possible on the way down.
          4. Land in front of a train.

        • Ignorant Amos

          That would work.

          I’d strap a “beehive”, aka Charge Demolition No.1, 6 inch, to the top of my head and press the igniter…lights out short shrift.

          http://www.chemringenergetics.co.uk/products/products-applications/demolition-stores/beehive.aspx

          http://www.cbrnergeticsltd.com/UploadedImages/d90f45d5-914f-44c0-a018-df8c9aad621cDem_Beehive_Charge_2.jpg

          The Japanese were known to wind detonation cord around the necks of there captives, then set it off…that’ll do the trick too…when you consider that it will suffice to drop a tree.

        • Greg G.

          In the movie, Peppermint, Jennifer Garner’s character [Spoiler alert. Move your cursor over the blanked out text to read it. ] dispatches a corrupt judge by wrapping detonation cord around his body and blowing up his house.

        • That reminds me vaguely of the ending of Mad Max. He handcuffed the bad guy to a gasoline truck and told him (this is from memory): “The truck will blow up in 15 minutes. Here’s a hacksaw. You won’t get through the handcuffs in 15 minutes, but you can saw off your hand in that time. Enjoy.”

        • Ignorant Amos

          Pedantic point…it was Johnny Boy’s ankle in cuff’s.

          Soz…I’ve seen that movie so many times I practically know the script.

          https://ardfilmjournal.wordpress.com/2008/09/20/the-symbolic-ending-of-mad-max/

        • I’ve only seen it once :-(.

          But the ankle is more fun. You could maybe survive the amputation, but life is going to suck worse in that post-apocalyptic world to have one fewer feet (rather than one fewer hands).

        • Ignorant Amos

          I did a lot of tours during the 80’s where the number of video cassettes on hand were restrictive.

          The Blues Brothers
          The Warriors
          The Wanderers…

          …and Mad Max were just about all we had on a four and a half month tour of Forkhill, South Armagh bandit country. A captive audience and not much telly in them days worth talking about.

          Coincidentally, I watched Mad Max again recently with my partner…she’d never seen it. The experience done her head in, as the running commentary and preemptive quotes were getting on her goat.

        • It sounds weird to imagine bandits in Ireland. These were IRA-affiliated people who would hassle the army, I’m guessing?

        • Michael Neville

          I don’t know about British Army slang but when I was in Vietnam ever so many years ago the areas controlled by the enemy were “bandit country”. A town controlled by the VC or NVA was colored red on our maps and called “Pinkville”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          …hassle the army,…

          That’s one way to put it…but it’s a whole lot more than that on the ground. Murder was rife.

          Time stamp 0:50 secs…

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcS2LBx3nZ4

          https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bandit-Country-IRA-South-Armagh/dp/0340717378

        • I forget how civil war-ish it was.

        • Greg G.

          The last time I watched Caddyshack a few years ago, I caught a joke I had missed the first fifty or so times. The name of the judge’s boat was “The Flying Wasp” and the connection finally hit me that it was a play on “White Anglo Saxon Protestant”.

        • ildi
        • Otto

          The Blues Brothers
          The Warriors
          The Wanderers…

          Not bad for just a few selections. I actually read the book of ‘The Wanderers’ several times before I saw the movie. The book was great and I recommend it. I wish I still had it because I haven’t read it in 35 years, I wonder if I would still like it…

        • Greg G.

          That reminds me of the captain who wanted to get out of the pirate business and into a corporate job.

          Intervierwer: How did you end up with a peg leg?

          Captain: We were in a battle at sea. A cannonball took the lower part of my leg.

          Intervierwer: What about the hook on your arm?

          Captain: I lost my hand in a sword fight.

          Intervierwer: Why do you have a patch on your eye?

          Captain: We were leaving the harbor when I heard a seagull above. When I looked up, he crapped in my eye.

          Intervierwer: And that put your eye out?

          Captain: Well, it was the day after I got the hook.

        • Michael Neville

          What do you call a pirate with two hands, two legs and two eyes? A rookie.

        • Lark62

          How did Capt Hook die?

          Jock Itch

        • Greg G.

          Max: The chain in those handcuffs is high-tensile steel. It’d take you ten minutes to hack through it with this. Now, if you’re lucky, you could hack through your ankle in five minutes. Go.

        • ildi

          How do you do that with the text? (My google-fu failed me on this one.)

        • Greg G.

          It’s a Disqus tag that works like HTML. The tag is <spoiler>Text</spoiler> .

        • Greg G.

          Get a refreshed copy of the other post. I got the “greater than” and “less than” codes switched. Your email notification and any new notifications will be wrong.

        • ildi

          Thank you! 🙂

        • Michael Neville

          I’ve used detonation cord to chop down trees. The rule of thumb is one wrap of cord per inch diameter of the tree. Det cord is bad ass stuff.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…that was my training as a young Combat Engineer too…and later as an instructor on teaching of demolition calculations.

          Bad ass stuff indeed….people not in the know, tend to mistake it for fuse, which is something completely different. What it is, is a straw wide tube filled with high explosives that ignites at a rate of 6400 m/s…and capable of fucking things right up in its own right.

          Here’s a slo-mo of a couple of mannequins getting it right up them…

          https://www.reddit.com/r/gifs/comments/93k6l0/blowing_up_dummies_with_det_cord/

        • Now, who doesn’t enjoy a slo-mo video of blowing shit up??

        • Ignorant Amos

          Next best thing to actually blowing stuff up oneself, imo.

        • ildi

          Best part of Mythbusters was the post-science how-hard-can-we-blow-shit-up

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Funny how the fundagelical conservatives think we don’t have any firearms / explosives experience, no? Since we don’t get a woody over threatening people with them?

        • So there is this guy who’s determined to off himself so he drinks cyanide, point a gun into his mouth, and for good measure . . . .

          https://i.pinimg.com/originals/89/1f/82/891f82d692966a9fca4a1a8e427db3a8.jpg

  • Beside the fact that Hitler, as already noted, wasn’t an atheist Stalin was pretty good at using the Orthodox Church when it suited his purposes.

    • Raging Bee

      Yeah, and the ROC weren’t making Russian rulers any less corrupt, brutal or incompetent either before or after the “atheistic” Soviet regime.

    • Joe

      And that this argument has no good explanation for Christians who do the same things.

  • epicurus

    I don’t know the leadup to Montgomery’s comments in the interview, but since overall he was responding to Ehrman’s book, which is not about atheism but rather how the idea of how there were various levels of divinities and godness in the ancient pagan world, and how Jesus got pushed up that ladder over time by christians, I would assume Montgomery was pulling the usual trick of calling anyone an atheist who doesn’t follow full on trinitarian christianity.

    • Ehrman identifies as an agnostic, I’m pretty sure. Anyway this is just the old “attack the arguer, not the argument” tactic it seems to me. Just ran across a similar example today. http://www.evangelismhelp.com/naturalism/

      • epicurus

        Yeah, part of me keeps thinking that maybe around the next corner, the next book, the next web page, there is something, someone, with actually good apologetic arguments. Interesting that I never used to bother much before the Internet and blogosphere, as the info was a lot harder to comeby, and wasn’t worth the effort of tracking down one clown after another at the library hoping to find good arguments. It’s so much easier now.

        • I’m always surprised at just how bad most of this is. Well, not that I expected it to be convincing, from past experience. It just is mostly nothing though, even by “sophisticated” apologists. Yes, it’s like they say-mostly preaching to the choir.

        • epicurus

          It’s often a double standard as well – they could, or can, see the problems with similar style of arguments put forward by other religions. Back in my Christian days I read plenty of books by Christians dissecting other faiths and even then it struck me that they seemed to ignore the same kind of problems in their Christian faith. Walter Martin’s “Kingdom of The Cults” used to drive me nuts.

        • Yes, indeed. I noticed as a child when they gave out anti-cult literature that many churches shared features with them. As many note, they also reject similar evidence from Mormons (which is actually better).

        • Pofarmer

          Interestingly enough, it was reading Matt Slick taking apart Catholicism that ultimately did me in. I took his arguments against Catholicism and turned it on his own, and ultimately on the Bible itself. Didn’t work out the way Matt would have hoped.

        • Some guy

          Wow! I keep thinking we’ve all gotten dumber since the Internet, despite unprecedented availability of information. Thanks for helping restore my fai–, er, CONFIDENCE in humanity.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Ehrman identifies as both as a matter of fact. Granted, his position is/has been, somewhat fluid. In the books of his I first read, he clearly identified as agnostic, for sure, but his view has moved somewhat and he has been asked to explain his reasoning more than once.

        Because Ehrman has identified himself as atheist on occasion, he has had the need to explain and clarify his position a number of times.

        He doesn’t believe in the existence of a Judaeo-Christian God, Zeus, Thor, Brahma, etc, but is agnostic on the idea of a greater spiritual power or intelligence in the universe. Because the later isn’t known and isn’t an illogical position to hold.

        He seems to me to be describing a position not unlike that of Richard Dawkins…or a lot of us here for that matter.

        Here he is explaining his position last year…this one isn’t behind the paywall.

        https://ehrmanblog.org/am-i-an-agnostic-or-an-atheist-a-blast-from-the-past/

        • Ah, that makes sense. It is a distinction many hold yes.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Aye, we are agnostics to the point we don’t know for sure there isn’t something, though I expect what the something is, will turn out to be more science. I can’t be sure am not in a big science experiment, so solipsism.

          But as for all that other irrational and illogical mumbo-jumbo, am sure that nonsense can’t exist because of contradiction and logical impossibility and such stuff…and science. So am a grade 7 atheist in that respect.

          Being both agnostic and atheist are neither synonymous nor mutually exclusive. But some people seem to think agnosticism is a 50/50 proposition when it really isn’t.

        • Yes, it depends on the specific claim assessed, and also what definition is used.

  • Sheila Warner

    I love the Ingersoll quote. Your points are well thought out, as usual.

  • MR

    I guess you double down on confidence when you don’t have an actual argument.

    Lordy, lordy, don’t we know that!

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      if the facts are on you side you pounds the facts, if the law is on your side you pound the law, if neither is on your side you pound the table, if that’s all you got then you have to play it hard.

  • Joe

    I’d like to know why anyone should bother with anybody else.

    I’d like to know why “anyone should bother with anybody else” in Christianity, other than because that’s what has been asserted they should (and most often don’t)? How does he explain cruelty and lack of empathy shown by some Christians?

    I mean certainly, it would be looking out for Number One. . . . It would be a matter of feathering our own nest and certainly not paying attention to anybody else.

    A lot of Evangelical Christians are staunch libertarians. How does the Good Doctor explain this seeming contradiction?

    A society without a foundation in a belief in God and in the last judgment is a society in which people will try to get away with anything they possibly can, and it’s simply an invitation to chaos, bedlam, and anarchy.

    Is this what heaven will be like, post “Last Judgement”?

    • Otto

      If the hallmark of Christianity is that Christians are the only ones that ‘look out for others’ it fails on both sides of that coin.

      It is almost like the Dr Dr Dr is just making stuff up…ok not ‘almost like’, that is exactly what he is doing.

  • Here’s a sample of Montgomery’s arguments.https://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_packham/montgmry.html As someone with a little knowledge of the law, this is pretty laughable.

  • eric

    I suppose it’s nice that [Ehrman] wants everybody to love each other, but if there isn’t any god and there’s no last judgment, I’d like to know why anyone should bother with anybody else

    To make the world a better place to live in? To leave future generations a better world than the one we experienced?

    Montgomery is basically saying he needs to be bribed in order to help an old lady cross the street…and even worse, he can’t understand the psychology of someone who doesn’t need to be bribed to do such things. That doesn’t reflect poorly on atheists, it reflects poorly on him.

    But the ultimate irony here is that Montgomery is Lutheran; that’s the sect that literally invented sola fide. So here we have a theologian of the sect created the doctrine that good works don’t matter to salvation, claiming his theology is needed so that people will do good works.

    • Otto

      Bingo on the last paragraph…ugh

    • Kit Hadley-Day

      I have long maintained that Christians are not good they are mercenary, everything is a calculation on how much closer this action or that action gets them to heaven, they have just arranged things so that, for the most part, the way they score points is also considered how a good person acts, it’s always funny when those two things don’t agree and the christian seems to be genuinely baffled at the backlash.

    • Some guy

      The funny thing is that I’m sure Montgomery and I, in that moment, would help the same old lady for the same reason, our natural compassion. I’m sure most Christians wouldn’t stop to think, “I’ll help her so I can score brownie points with God,” any more than I’d stop to think, “I’ll help her because no god will.” (OK, I’ll admit that my bribe is feeling good when I help someone, and my threatened punishment is feeling bad for hurting someone.)

      • eric

        I think you’re probably right. He’s probably not implying “I, Montgomery, would rape and pillage if there was no threat of hell.” Instead, he’s implying a version of the ‘little people’ argument, i.e. that the reward of heaven and punishment of hell is needed to keep all those other people behaving. But making the ‘little people’ argument doesn’t reflect much better on him, to be honest.

  • Greg G.

    I suppose it’s nice that [Ehrman] wants everybody to love each other, but if there isn’t any god and there’s no last judgment, I’d like to know why anyone should bother with anybody else.

    Why go to a party if you know it will end? Why enjoy a party if there is no last judgment of the party? Why go home if god isn’t going to greet you at the door? Why bother with sex if the orgasm won’t last 10 seconds?

    I think JWM needs another Dr. The first three don’t seem to be working.

    • Otto

      And how does believing a thought get you out of a judgement that you are supposed to deserve…ffs the guy should be smart and his thinking is pathetic.

    • His “Drs” are in theology, law, and library science. He’s not making his fellow graduates look good.

      • Kit Hadley-Day

        one in something that promotes logic rather than motivated thinking might help him along a bit

        • Yeah, law + theology might reinforce their problems.

          I don’t know what explains John Lennox, though. He’s got a lot of degrees as well, and now he’s off spouting apologetics that’s not much more advanced than what Ray Comfort uses.

        • Kit Hadley-Day

          the power of motivated thinking, making fools of intellectuals since forever. As long as you accept all their base premises, stated and otherwise, the logic is often sound, and if you already believe you have to accept the premises, that’s why believers think apologetic arguments are great and everyone else thinks they are silly.

      • Ignorant Amos

        But, but, but…when it comes to talking theology, credentials are everything…Triggerman says so, and he’s a “Trained Researcher” and assessor of work at a higher seat of learning, so he should know. //s

        • Greg G.

          The only way to distinguish theology from crazy is credentials.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya think?

          I’d say credentials just make the theological craziness official.

        • Syzygy

          Always remember the difference between religion and superstition.
          What is it again? Oh, yea, it’s money.

        • Greg G.

          Actually there’s a lot of superstition in gambling which involves money. So the difference is legally tax-free money.

        • Pofarmer

          So, a while back I said a little bit about a book my wife is reading called “Get us out of here.” https://www.amazon.com/Get-Out-Here-Nicky-Eltz-ebook/dp/B0080SFFFE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539783442&sr=8-1&keywords=get+us+out+of+here+by+maria+simma

          I’ve read little bits of it, and I’m just like, “What the holy hell.” But I haven’t said anything. And now I find here reading a copy of a pamphlet on the Miracle at “Medjugorje Prepare the World for my final coming.” https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Medjugorja+prepare+the+world+for+my+final+coming&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3AMedjugorja+prepare+the+world+for+my+final+coming

          Now, I’ve taken it as my current position not to interfere in her religious beliefs. The problem is, those beliefs always bleed over into her behavior. She becomes anxious, controlling, etc, etc, etc. She’s practically frantic about making it to Church on her days off, etc, etc. So, I’m grappling with the issue of whether I say anything or not. I mean, it’s not like here family isn’t crazy religious. I mean, I’ve seen them go to a wedding at 2:30, and go back to church at 5:30 on Saturday evening because that 2:30 one didn’t qualify as church, yada, yada, yada. It’s all just so much of a minefield. It’s exhausting, really.

          Oh, and the whole point of that was to get at what you said about separating theology from crazy. I don’t think there’s an operative way. As long as it’s “consistent” with the faith, whatever that means, it seems like people are free to come up with whatever crazy nonsense they like.

        • Thanks4AllTheFish

          I’ve often marveled at the need for Christian believers to seek outside references to reinforce or validate their belief. Is the Word of Almighty God in The Bible so lacking that it needs scholarly interpretation from mere mortals tainted by Eve’s transgressions of the Tree of Knowledge? Other than the financial angle, I see a certain dichotomy here, but hey,…that’s just me.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Fair play to ya…I wouldn’t last 2 minutes before my boiler burst…ya deserve the Victoria Cross…or should that be the Congregational Medal of Honor?

        • ildi

          I know you’ve said before how/why your marriage is working for you, but I hug my cat harder (if I can catch her) every time I read your comments 🙁

          I was going to visit my younger brother for Thanksgiving, but I don’t even want to be in the same city as my Santorum-faith older brother after the Kavanaugh confirmation. I may still go if the mid-term elections are not a total debacle but after the 2016 election I’m not holding my breath.

        • You know the group PFLAG–Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays? And Al-Anon is for people who have an alcoholic in the family.

          Is there an equivalent for someone like you? Maybe an online group where you could share notes or even just vent.

          Of course, you have here, but have you searched for some nationwide/international organization that would be a self-help group for the atheist who’s unequally yoked?

        • Pofarmer

          Never even thought about it.

        • C’mon–you’re a farmer. How busy can a farmer be? You’ve got lots of spare time. This can be your little project.

        • Pofarmer

          Thing is, we farmers tend to be a rather solitary lot.

        • I hear you. I don’t think I’d gravitate toward such a group without a good reason.

          I did find this, for what it’s worth:
          “Support Group for Atheists Demonized or Abandoned by Friends or Family”
          http://www.atheistrepublic.com/support-group-for-atheists

        • Yeah, I don’t want to go head-to-head against Mr. Triggerman. Formidable.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah, I don’t want to go head-to-onion head against Mr. Triggerman.

          FTFY.

          Formidable.

          My arse!

      • Pofarmer

        Is the PhD. in Law real or honorary?

        Or are all lawyers considered PhD. Level?

        • I think the idea is that all terminal degrees are the same. By that logic, a law degree (JD) would be equivalent to a PhD or a DPhil.

        • Greg G.

          I have a DhK, a doctorate in hard knocks. My undergraduate degree is a bunch of gold stars in first grade. Does that count?

        • I’m just gonna conclude that we’re all winners for participating.

    • Brian Curtis

      Why date or marry someone if they’re just going to die someday? Why watch a TV show if it’s going to end in 60 minutes? They really do see nihilism as the only alternative to a fairy tale, don’t they? *headshake*

      • That’s my policy about showers. Why take one today when I’ll just have to do the same damn thing tomorrow?

        I’m having a hard time getting traction with my idea, though.

        • Greg G.

          Every time you take a shower, it just goes down the drain.

          Why buy shampoo when you can make real poo yourself for free?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha-haaa…

        • ildi

          Fertilizer factory runs out of some materials, president calls an all-staff meeting and says, “Ok, people, we’re just going to have to make do…”

        • The good news is, they made the bean burritos free.

        • Michael Neville

          Thank you all for appealing to my inner 12-year-old.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I’m ditto with changing underpants and socks.

        • Sample1

          Good thing breathing is controlled by the autonomic nervous system otherwise…

          Mike

        • MR

          Or car washing. It’s just going to rain on it again…, one day.

        • Some guy

          It’s OK, Bob. (I’m not downwind of you.)

  • Greg G.

    Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
        –Thomas Jefferson

  • Tommy

    I suppose it’s nice that [Ehrman] wants everybody to love each other,
    but if there isn’t any god and there’s no last judgment, I’d like to
    know why anyone should bother with anybody else. I mean certainly, it
    would be looking out for Number One. . . . It would be a matter of
    feathering our own nest and certainly not paying attention to anybody
    else.

    Ask a Buddhist.

    And all of the horrors of atheistic totalitarianisms could never be
    criticized; there isn’t any last judgment; Hitler and Stalin—they just
    die like anybody else, and they can get away with it.

    Why would these evil men exist in the first place? Why is there no short supply of evil men in a world supervised by an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient being?

    A society without a foundation in a belief in God and in the last judgment is a society in which people will try to get away with anything they possibly can, and it’s simply an invitation to chaos, bedlam, and anarchy. Poor Ehrman is obviously entirely unaware of the consequences of the belief system that he represents.

    Like Japan?

    • Why would these evil men exist in the first place? Why is there no short supply of evil men in a world supervised by an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient being?

      And then when there is an example of a decent atheist, they reply that that’s unsurprising, since God put morality in everyone’s heart.

      Checkmate, atheists.

      • Tommy

        And then when there is an example of a decent atheist, they reply that that’s unsurprising, since God put morality in everyone’s heart.

        And a world where God puts morality in everyone’s heart – yet people will do whatever they want regardless, is indistinguishable from a world where God puts nothing in anyone’s heart and people do whatever they want – or a world where there is no God at all and people do whatever they want.

        Checkmate, theists! 😉

      • Some guy

        Or the person isn’t REALLY an atheist (an inverse No-True-Scotsman?) . . . or there ARE no real atheists . . . or they learned their moral values when they still believed in God . . . or . . . or . . . or . . .

        • or there ARE no real atheists

          Oh, yeah. I forgot that “atheists” believe in God but are too proud to bend the knee.

        • Tommy

          Which would contradict Psalm 14:1 that they love to throw at atheists 😉

        • C_Alan_Nault

          I toss out Psalm 137:9 at them.

          Blessed is the man who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!

        • I had to look that one up but, yeah, very familiar: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.””

    • Ignorant Amos

      Why would these evil men exist in the first place? Why is there no short supply of evil men in a world supervised by an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, omniscient being?

      Indeed.

      Let’s just grant the atheism of Hitler for the sake of argument…why would a 98.5% religious nation, predominantly Christian, feel the need to follow an atheist? Where was YahwehJesus when this charismatic baby eater was guffawing his propaganda against the chosen ones?

      Hitler was their leader, but Christian were guilty of carrying out the atrocities.

      Like Japan?

      Or the Pirahã?

      The Pirahã are supremely gifted in all the ways necessary to ensure their continued survival in the jungle: they know the usefulness and location of all important plants in their area; they understand the behavior of local animals and how to catch and avoid them; and they can walk into the jungle naked, with no tools or weapons, and walk out three days later with baskets of fruit, nuts, and small game.

      According to Everett, the Pirahã have no concept of a supreme spirit or god, and they lost interest in Jesus when they discovered that Everett had never seen him. They require evidence based on personal experience for every claim made. However, they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people.

      How do they get by without the Christian God?…it’s an enigma to be sure…or is it?

    • Some guy

      Exactly. And that’s also why, before Christianity came along, humans became extinct from worldwide mutual genocide . . . oh, wait, never mind.

    • Sonyaj

      Heh. Facts make the baby jeebus cry, so you need to stop with them!

  • epicurus

    I just did a long delayed double take on Bob’s going to France for a two week apologetics seminar. Talk about dedication!

    • Ignorant Amos

      Proverbial martyr.

      Nothing like hearing the shite directly from the bulls mouth…that way he can’t be accused of being biased by the queue of apologists that pitch up here.

      We had a member of the RDFRS back in the day that volunteered to read all the apologetic flea books that came out off the back of the glut of atheist books around the time.

      Paula Kirby, a journalist, would then report back on the dross contained within said books…a bit of life saver in helping the rest of us avoid all the crap.

    • The really crazy thing is that I was out as an atheist to my fellow students, and I invited them to discuss Christianity with me. No dice. I imagine many of them don’t want to be better debaters/evangelists but just want to shore up their own crumbling faith.

      • epicurus

        I’m sure they saw you as a devil inspired trouble maker – someone to avoid.

        • And indeed I was, but if they were doing this to become better evangelists (again, many may not have had that as a goal), wouldn’t that have been the perfect opportunity?

          Let me try to answer my own question: preaching to an ordinary knucklehead on the street or in the office is one thing, but they may have wanted to avoid an atheist who takes this stuff seriously.

          At least, that’s the best I’ve come up with.

        • epicurus

          Yeah, although sadly and perhaps paradoxically, many of them think an atheist taking this stuff seriously is driven by rebellion and stubbornness and isn’t really looking for the truth. But then why do they bother with apologetics? For the knucklehead on the street? But he or she isn’t going to have any serious deep questions, so they just need to hear the gospel.

          I’m tellin’ ya, it all leads to Calvinism!

        • Greg G.

          I’m tellin’ ya, it all leads to Calvanism!

          This is not the first time I have said this, but I think the logical consequence of the Bible leads to Calvinism so that Calvinism is the reduction ad absurdum refutation of the Bible.

        • epicurus

          Edited to correct spelling of Calvanism, and thus turning Greg G into a misquoter 🙂

        • Sonyaj

          They’ve probably tried it in the past, and it was emotionally pain-inducing with the inevitable cognitive dissonance and failure that results, so they don’t want to try again, having learned from that mistake. I read an interesting article linked from Farnam Street’s Brain Food digest yesterday on “solution aversion”, and that just describes so much of what is going on in today’s politics and extreme denial, and I’d bet there’s an element of that with these people as well.

          Here’s a link to the article in case anyone wants to read it:

          https://bppblog.com/2018/03/27/solution-aversion/

          I think a lot of these people go to these lectures and whatnot to just get the “feel good about your tribe, everyone else is full of shit/going to hell/etc” message that it sends, rather than to learn how to try and convert people. It’s kind of like smoking: if someone hasn’t been indoctrinated before adulthood, it’s much less likely they will as an adult.

          Good on you for taking one for the team, as it were, and sharing your experience with the rest of us. Sounds like an exercise in both patience and utter tedium.

        • ildi

          It’s not just a knowledgeable atheist – I remember back in the day on campus Brother Jed and Sister Cindy et al. would stop their preaching and break out into singing if anybody pulled out the bible and start to quote parts they didn’t like as much as the smiting parts.

        • Greg G.

          I remember Jed and Cindy. He gave his testimony once about how he discovered God when he was naked on a beach in Morocco doing acid.

        • ildi

          That was some bad shit, bro

        • David Cromie

          It could have been worse, especially if Satan had appeared to him!

        • Otto

          People with mental conditions really shouldn’t do acid.

        • That’s a tactic of the Westboro gang–sing when they aren’t winning the argument.

          I recently came across a variant at an abortion clinic that had some Catholic protesters. When I tried to politely engage them in debate, they’d bring out their rosary and pray.

          That was an eye-opener for me. It’s the 21st century, and they’re casting spells.

        • Susan

          It’s the 21st century, and they’re casting spells.

          The Gates of Hell will not prevail against the One True Church.

          They have incantantions to defend them against polite efforts to engage The Gates of Hell.

        • Pofarmer

          So, my wife and I hadn’t been dating all that long. Maybe 6 to 9 months? I don’t remember exactly. But, her 2nd oldest sister was having a baby some hours away and she wanted to go down to St. Louis to see it, basically. So, we were at her parents house, and, I think, her brother and one other sister wanted to go into St. Louis to the hospital with us. Now, I’m thinking, it’s the 1990’s, let’s leave these people alone, but, anyway, I wasn’t saying anything, and we’re in the car on the highway a ways from the Hospital and they all start saying a Rosary, and I’m just thinking in my head “What the hell is this?” I mean I’d been to all manner of protestant services but this was, undeniably, new. At the time my wife wasn’t all that out of the norm religious. Church on Sunday’s, blah, blah, blah. I suppose it should have been a warning shot, but I thought that she was different. Should have known better, I suppose.

        • epeeist

          When I tried to politely engage them in debate, they’d bring out their rosary and pray.

          Similar to my experience dealing with a woman from something like the “Plymouth Brethren”, when she found she had no answers to the points I was raising (I pointed out we have trees older than she thought the earth was amongst other things) she began to rock backwards and forwards repeating “I believe in Jesus” over and over again.

        • al kimeea

          To be fair, you were emanating evil

        • Touche.

        • al kimeea

          The evil of being well versed in their ancient bullshit. That and the dedicated open mindedness to travel across the pond to hear an “expert” expounding endlessly on the shit some people fall for. At least you saw Paris.

        • This event was in Strasbourg (in the Alsace region of France). Just hanging out in that city for 2 weeks made it worth it.

      • carbonUnit

        My spouse hates it if I appear to use the atheist label. Instead of it being a statement of fact of current non-belief as you describe above, Spouse equates it with rabid, fire-breathing “I KNOW there to be no God” atheism which makes Spouse fear for my soul. I can’t seem to get through on the simple, non-loaded use of the term. Spouse prefers “agnostic”, probably because that leaves hope that I’ll figure it out, or that I’m at least not locked-in (which I’m not.)

        I recently discovered that Spouse believes that the gospels were actually written by the participants, instead of being writings from generations later. That will be an interesting point of research for me, because I expect to find information about historical writings that might crack that faith with a diversion from Bible study to study of origins of the Bible. I doubt it will crumble any time soon…

        (For some reason, Patheos is putting a ridiculously space wasting header on this blog page.)

        • Would it help to explain that atheism and agnosticism aren’t mutually exclusive? I’m an atheist (I have no god belief) and I’m an agnostic (I don’t know for certain).

          Christians will try to say that, yes, the gospels were written decades later (though they fudge the number to be as small as possible), but they were written by eyewitnesses! Just because!

        • Michael Neville

          Patheos works in mysterious ways, its wonders to perform. Or something like that.

        • ildi

          I’m sticking to the belief that this is the real reason why Patheos changed the name of the “atheist” channel to the “nonreligious” channel. Fight me.

        • Castilliano

          You may wish to collaborate with her rather than become the source of the counter-argument: “Would you like to explore this deeper?”, “How might we figure this out?”, “Where might we find an unbiased opinion?” and such. Even if you’ve taken the journey and wish to run her down that path, she’s better off developing her trailblazing & cartography skills at her own pace.

          Also, Street Epistemology works well in quelling defensiveness. She gains far more by cracking her own faith than by you trying to crack it (especially if you fail, triggering the Backfire Effect & likely relationship issues).
          Of course, afterward it’s beneficial if you have a well evidenced & fleshed out worldview she can consider for replacing her then broken one. And you can help clean up the shards w/ counter-apologetics (or so I’d think).

        • carbonUnit

          Oh yes, I want to point Spouse at the issue and explore it jointly if
          possible and let her maybe come to the conclusions herself. (“It’s a Trap!”)

          I have to be well versed in the history issue first and that’s going to take a while. A really bad fail would be that I’d get sucked in, especially given that I haven’t spent decades studying the Bible. My actual first project might be a cover-to-cover read, without making any attempt to do special research first/during the read. Just read it using what I have in my head from places like this, paying special attention to inconsistencies, bad logic and immorality. Then start making observations and asking innocent questions as I go. Might be interesting. I wonder how much I might pick up?

        • Reading the Bible is a good idea. Keep in mind that it’s 800,000 words long. You might want to consider the order you read the books in to be most efficient.

        • carbonUnit

          Well, the idea is to try to experience it as someone with no instruction might. (As God intended?) I’m not aware of God providing any sort of Read This First/TL;DR instructions as to His book, so I guess I should do it in default order. It is also kind of trying to run counter to so many who study the Bible being lead by various guides, so only find things they are meant to.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Talk about walking right into the lions den wearing an antelope suit only to find the toothless lions hadn’t a set of dentures between them

        Go you, ya Satan’s spawn alive and well here on Earth lol.

      • Lark62

        That’s hilarious. It proves yet again they’ve got nothing, and know it.

      • Otto

        The average Christian is just not equipped to have that discussion imo.

  • Syzygy

    I have to admit, Dr Dr Dr has rekindled my lack of interest in gods and religion.

  • C_Alan_Nault

    “He’s quite proud of his 11 earned degrees, including three doctorates”

    One is a doctorate in theology.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theology

    Definition of theology
    the study of religious faith, practice, and experience

    In other words, a doctorate in ceremonial rituals and beliefs.

    One doctorate is an honorary one, so it can be dismissed.

    One is a Phd from the university of Chicago, but it doesn’t specify what for.

    • Michael Neville

      Theology is the study of an imaginary being’s thoughts.

      • C_Alan_Nault

        As well as any ceremonies, rites, and other practices created around the belief in that imaginary being.

      • Greg G.

        Theology is the study of what other people have said about an imaginary being’s thoughts.

    • Tommy

      What is theology?…

      “The study of theology, as it stands in Christian
      churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on
      no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can
      demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion. Not anything can be
      studied as a science, without our being in possession of the principles
      upon which it is founded; and as this is the case with Christian
      theology, it is therefore the study of nothing.” – Thomas Pain

      “Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing.” – H. L. Mencken

      • Susan

        What is theology?…

        “Theology is a subject without an object.” – Dan Barker

  • Rudy R

    Penn sums it up perfectly, in response do Dr. Dr. Dr. wondering why we do good without punishment from god.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/37ab817ef9b621c218c19aea067b7e59f1d6b0325d49697eb8e3b21394df3a8d.jpg

    • Adam “Giauz” Birkholtz

      I think people who claim they would be psychopaths without Jesus are really telling us how their religion teaches them to devalue the study of ethics and morals and loving their fellow human. After all, they believe that doing bad stuff are the only actions they don’t have to be ordered around to do. What a waste.

      • JustAnotherAtheist2

        Yes, and the cherry on top is that they are oblivious to the fact that their intended criticism only exposes their own flaws.

  • Doubting Thomas

    You don’t know why anyone should bother with anyone else? The reason
    isn’t hard to find—evolution selects for positive traits like
    trustworthiness, generosity, and self-sacrifice in social animals like
    apes (which includes us).

    Also, during the process of going from child to adulthood, most people come to realize that their own happiness and well-being is highly dependent on the happiness and well-being of those around them and that doing things to increase happiness for others increases one’s own happiness in return. I try to make the world a better place because I live in it and prefer living in a better world. I don’t see any other reason as necessary for my actions.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Injecting politics for a moment, tRump and the Repug leadership must have missed those phases.

  • Andrej Đeneš

    Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism and Human Rights?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b0ftfKFEJg

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Bravo!

  • Greg G.

    xkcd’s Modified Bayes Theorem.

    https://xkcd.com/2059/

    SMBC on the Amalekites

    http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/amalekite

    ETA Jesus and Mo on the Pope finally taking action on child sex abuse

    http://www.jesusandmo.net/comic/laic/

    • ildi
      • Greg G.

        If there were any Amalekite survivors, say someone taken out of the country as a slave a few generations before the Israelite calamity, and they had descendants who were still alive after 3000, years, then some of them have descendants to this day. 3000 years ago was before the Silk Road trade routes were opened in Alexander the Great’s time. So we have traveling salesmen visiting distant areas and slave trading to spread genes and biological heritage for hundreds of years.

        Four generations per century for 30 centuries works out to 2 to the 30th power possible ancestors. If there were 250 million people with descendants who survived to our time, then every one of them is an ancestor to us all an average of 5×10^27 times. Perhaps some of the Australian aborigines and native North and South Americans could be excluded. So “Thou shalt not kill” only applies to them because the rest of us are all part Amalekite, and there is a standing order to kill us.

  • Jack Baynes, Sandwichmaker

    They harp so much on the need for lasting judgement, then latch on to a theology where the “lasting judgment” effectively applies not to whether you’re a good moral person (their theology assumes there’s no such thing, everyone deserves hell), but whether you believe in the right god.

    • Greg G.

      They expect to harp forever.

  • Paul

    “Show me just one person killed in the name of atheism.”

    One of many trite sayings that atheists need to quit saying. It’s not a matter of being killed in the name of atheism. Worldview foundations and beliefs have an impact on someones’ actions. Have atheists killed people? Yes, and it was their worldview foundation that they used to justify their actions. So stop hiding behind the “killed in the name of atheism” nonsense.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      ‘Trite’ is NOT the same as ‘false’.

      Deal with it.

    • Greg G.

      Yes, and it was their worldview foundation that they used to justify their actions.

      But part of the “worldview” is that there are stars in the sky. That didn’t play a role in the killing and neither does atheism. A theist would kill for any reason an atheist would but a theist can also kill because of religious reasons.

    • It’s not a matter of being killed in the name of atheism. Worldview foundations and beliefs have an impact on someones’ actions.

      You are implying cause and effect, but you need to be explicit and show your work.

      “I’m an atheist” simply means they have no god belief. That’s it. Atheism makes no claim about morality, politics, social policy, and so on.

      Have atheists killed people?

      Have knitters killed people?

      Yes, and it was their worldview foundation that they used to justify their actions.

      Ah, their worldview. Maybe that’s the actual cause. In the case of Stalin, I’m guessing that his wanting to be a dictator was the driving factor. Christianity was competition, so he shut it down.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Christianity was competition, so he shut it down.

        And also allowed it when it suited him and was pragmatic to do so.

      • Thanks4AllTheFish

        I blocked Paul (and skl) some time ago mostly because rehashing the same tired points over and over again to try and get through to them, proved utterly fruitless. They, among so many others, perfectly define the premise that arguing rationally with a theist is a total waste of time. They are completely incapable of critiquing the massive amount of dissonance found in their religious beliefs while at the same time they seem unable to stifle themselves from projecting their views as if others somehow, just missed the point.

        I applaud your efforts, fruitless as they may be.

      • Michael Neville

        Stalin being a paranoid megalomaniac had more to do with him getting people killed than his lack of belief in gods.

    • Otto

      You hold a book that you claim has divine origins where the God you follow has literally ordered his followers to kill people. Because of that same book people in your religion have felt justified in killing people, and that has happened since its inception and continues to this day.

  • Paul

    “Atheism makes no moral claims or demands.”

    Another trite saying. Technically true, but I could say that religion makes no moral claims and it would be technically true. People, including atheists, are the ones that make moral claims. C’mon Bob, you just posted an entire article making moral claims.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/10/who-has-the-basis-for-morality-no-its-not-the-christian/

    If you want to keep using the saying “Atheism makes no moral claims or demands”, then stop making moral claims.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      Liar.

      Religion not only makes moral claims, but claims supernatural sanction for those claims.

      • Paul

        Religion is just a concept. It can’t make moral claims. People make moral claims. Let me know if you need further clarification.

        • Greg G.

          Religious people make moral claims based on their religion. People who make moral claims apart from religion, tend to base their moral claims on how it affects suffering and thriving of people.

        • Paul

          Are you saying God didn’t have people in mind when He said “Thou shalt not murder.” and “Thou shalt not steal.”?

        • Greg G.

          I say there is no god thingy who ever said anything. If you claim a god thingy said something, you need to first prove the thingy exists, that it is a god, that it actually said it, and that it is actually worth saying, that is, not a lie.

          How do we know that killing is not the proper thing to do? Maybe dying of natural causes keeps you out of Valhalla and the god thingy you follow is Loki who wants to keep people out.

          But there is no reason to think any of that is true. The evidence shows there was never a large group of Israelis in Egypt, there was never a large group of any kind of people living in the Sinai at any point in the since it was a desert, that the culture of Canaan was not disrupted by an invasion when the Bible says the Israelis invaded, but it does show that there were many sites with identical cultures except some had pig bones and some did not, which indicates the Israelis were just Canaanites with a slightly different religious culture. That means no Moses, no Abraham, no Noah, no Adam and Eve. Those are ancient fairy tales.

          If one man is beating up another man and the wife of the second man tries to pull the attacker off her husband but accidentally grabs his genitals, is it objectively moral to chop her hand off? How do you know?

          Deuteronomy 25:11-12 (NIV)11 If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, 12 you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity.

        • David Cromie

          ‘Moses’ is a mythical character, as is JC. No evidence that either ever existed. Both are inventions meant to serve political ends.

          As for moral codes, do you honestly believe there were no morals before Yahweh came along?

          See; ‘Inventing God’s Law – How the Covenant Code of the Bible Used and Revised the Laws of Hammurabi’, by D. P, Wright, 2009, OUP.

        • Ignorant Amos

          God never said those things…God is imaginary and doesn’t actually exist.

        • David Cromie

          Then why do christers claim that if there were no ‘god’, then atheists would have no morals?

        • Paul

          That’s not what they say. Christians say that atheists would have no logical reason to be moral. There’s a difference.

          Why do some atheists borrow from Judeo/Christian morals like “Thou shalt not murder.” and “Thou shalt not steal.”?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dumb as fuck.

        • Greg G.

          That’s not what they say. Christians say that atheists would have no logical reason to be moral. There’s a difference.

          Yet atheists do have logical reasons to be moral. It is rules we go by to interact with one another. I won’t kill you if you won’t kill me. I won’t steal from you if you don’t steal from me. I won’t play music at full volume if you won’t. I won’t let my dog poop in your yard if you won’t let yours poop in my yard. I’d feed your dog or watch your kids in an emergency if you will do something like that for me.

          You don’t need a god thingy to explain this.

        • Paul

          Are you saying that you would do those things if someone did them to you? Is that what you mean my moral relativity?

        • Greg G.

          Are you saying that you would do those things if someone did them to you?

          Yes! If someone killed me, I would certainly kill them back! Dumbass.

          The other side of it is that if someone tries to kill you, you would not be blamed for protecting yourself. If someone tries to steal, you would stop them from stealing but using lethal force would generally not be tolerated.

          This is not hard to understand unless you have been brainwashed by religion.

          You have been asked many times to show how you determine what is objectively moral. You keep dodging. You cannot answer those questions. It is clear that you are reading them because you have started using the question I ask after each one.

          Is it moral to force a woman who might be pregnant or is obviously pregnant to drink muddy water mixed dirt from where un-house-broken livestock are slaughtered to see if the child is yours? How do you know?

        • Pofarmer

          Is it just one stupid theist on continuous loop?

          How can they not get this?

          If there’s “objective morality” then first define it, and then SHOW IT.

          HOLY FUCKIN STUPID BATMAN.

        • Greg G.

          HOLY ROLLERS, BATMAN!

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          YOUR KIND don’t get to steal the origin of prohibitions on murder and theft.

          Those prohibitions existed LONG before YOUR KIND stole them (like winter festival, which y’all stole and turned into christmas, and spring festival, which y’all stole and turned into easter, etc.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          Why do some atheists borrow from Judeo/Christian morals like “Thou shalt not murder.” and “Thou shalt not steal.”?

          Fer fuck sake…those two concepts are not Judeo/Christian to begin with ya Dime Bar. Wise ta fuck up.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Ur-Nammu

          ,

        • Phil

          “Religion is just a concept” Is that universally accepted across all religions? If not it should be as that is the atheist’s view. As a concept, it is worth nothing more than “That’s interesting, now back to reality”

        • David Cromie

          Religion is a concept based on ignorance, superstition, and delusion, and the conclusion that if there is no obvious explanation for a particular phenomenon, therefore ‘god’.

    • Greg G.

      Technically true, but I could say that religion makes no moral claims and it would be technically true.

      But theologies do make moral claims.

      People, including atheists, are the ones that make moral claims.

      Exactly. Atheists do not incorporate their moral claims on the basis of atheism. Theists do base their moral claims on their theology.

      If you want to keep using the saying “Atheism makes no moral claims or demands”, then stop making moral claims.

      You had something right, then you contradict yourself. It’s like you are saying, “Math makes no moral claims, so mathematicians should shut up about moral claims.”

      • Paul

        “Theists do base their moral claims on their theology.”

        Because theology is part of their worldview.

        I didn’t contradict myself. I didn’t say they couldn’t make moral claims. I just told them to stop hiding behind phrases like “Atheism makes no moral claims.” The fact is that atheists make moral claims. And their reason for doing so stems from their worldview.

        • How hard is this? Yes, atheists make moral claims, but atheism isn’t what grounds those claims.

          The fact is that atheists make moral claims. And their reason for doing so stems from their worldview.

          Yes, they do make moral claims. Can you think of a worldview (an atheism really isn’t one–though I’ll admit that I’ve conflated them myself) that an atheist holds? That’s what you need to critique.

        • Paul

          To say something similar to what I said before: Atheism might not be a worldview, but an atheist does have a worldview. Everyone has a worldview. Tell me about yours, Bob, and I’ll critique it.

        • Humanism

        • Lavir

          So justify logical absolutes through your own “humanistic” worldview if you can. You say you adhere to such a worldview, is it not? Then I suppose you will have no problems on justifying the existence of principles you use every day of your life and you take for granted without stealing from a theistic worldview to do so, is it not?.

          Let’s see.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          False framing.

          Logical absolutes have nothing to do with a social worldview.

        • So justify logical absolutes through your own “humanistic” worldview if you can.

          Logical absolutes like A = A? I dunno—I don’t much care. Maybe that’s just a property of reality.

          You think that logical law is optional for a universe and that wouldn’t be true without God to make it so? I would love to see the proof of that.

          But logical absolutes aren’t what we’re talking about. We’re talking about the lack of evidence for the claim of objective morality.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Dime Bar.

        • Lavir

          Simple. You adhere to a materialistic/naturalistic worldview.

          I will ask you a question. Does a theist hold a worldview? I guess you will answer yes, is it not? Then tell me, given that the theist, by your own admission, holds to a worldview that is bound to his belief in God what it happens when you remove that belief? You have to NECESSARILY justify everything that the theist accounts God responsible for through other means (and the only choice an atheist has on the matter is to use naturalistic standards to do so). There’s no way outside of that.

          I know of NO atheist philosopher that doesn’t recognize atheism as requiring a worldview exactly like theism does. The fact that you cannot recognize this doesn’t mean that it is not so.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Atheism holds ONE position: Disbelief in any god or gods.

          If you want to talk about secular humanism, then don’t try to conflate it with atheism, as many people who are theists *live* by secular humanistic rules, without even thinking about it, as those are the rules of the world we live in now.

        • Then tell me, given that the theist, by your own admission, holds to a worldview that is bound to his belief in God what it happens when you remove that belief? You have to NECESSARILY justify everything that the theist ascribes to God through other means. There’s no way outside of that.

          Right. Give me something puzzling.

          I know of NO atheist philosopher that doesn’t recognize how atheism requires a worldview exactly like theism does.

          Atheism isn’t a worldview, but atheists have worldviews. Many atheists would call themselves secular humanists.

          In fact can you sincerely insist that you can be an atheist and ascribe to a supernatural worldview?

          I’m an atheist, and my worldview depends on nothing supernatural.

          You seem to be blundering toward some desired conclusion, but I have no idea what that might be. Share that with us sometime.

        • MR

          From what I’ve ever seen, atheists’ and Christians’ “worldviews” overlap in the vast majority of things. Christians tend to be the ones that exaggerate any differences. First and foremost we’re shaped by being human; then, we tend to take our cues from other people and the wider culture, not from things like the Bible, even though a Christian wants to believe that. Think about abortion, which seemingly defines Christians anymore, yet wouldn’t even appear in a glossary in the Bible.

        • David Cromie

          Any person with a working/enquiring brain, together with the faculty for critical thinking (you do not appear to have either) will have a world view. Thus the world view of the religiot and the atheist will be different, of necessity.

        • Greg G.

          Atheists make moral claims. Atheism does not make moral claims.

          Pedestrians make moral claims. Pedestrianism does not make moral claims.

          Theists make moral claims based on their theology.

          Atheists make moral claims based on a sense of fairness, empathy, and knowledge about they implications of certain ideas. Theists make moral claims based on what the Bible says an imaginary being wants.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re confusing atheism with secular humanism…purposely conflating, would be my guess.

        • Otto

          Golfers make moral claims…bicyclists make moral claims….are you really that daft?

        • Ignorant Amos

          ….are you really that daft?

          Ummmm…ya mean ya can’t tell? //s

        • Otto

          Rhetorical… 😉

          BTW because of your post yesterday I had to go and watch Mad Max last night. While I had seen the Road Warrior more times than I can count but I had only seen Mad Max once about 30 years ago.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Rhetorical… 😉

          A knew that…hence the //s

          MM was a great movie in its time.

        • Greg G.

          Have we past the time in which the movie was set?

        • Otto

          It starts with it saying it is set…”A few years from now”…so no, it is still coming.

        • Greg G.

          I was just thinking that next year, 1984 will be further in the past than the year that Orwell’s novel by that name was published was in 1984.

        • Otto

          Rat Bastard! You did this to us last week with Pulp Fiction!

        • Greg G.

          Actually, January 1, 1984 is closer in time to the publication date of the novel than it is to the present day. December 31, 1984 is closer to the present day than January 1, 1984 is to the publication date.

          We are in a cross-over period. It seems like a good reason to read the book again.

          When I read it in my teens, it didn’t make much since as I was too naive to see the political allegories. But when I read it in 1984 (because it was trendy) I did get that. But the televisions that could watch you seemed absurd until the 90s when we hooked up to the internet and the internet started data mining us. Now we have Siri and Alexa monitoring everything we say.

        • Otto

          And Big Brother isn’t just the gov’t, it is our neighbor with an IPhone.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s Google Home in my house…I argue with the bitch when am pissed and she can’t understand what am trying to ask her.

        • Don’t blame her. You talk funny.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Especially when am pished….ya’d think she’d get used to it though.

        • Greg G.

          “How maneh tames do ah hafta tell ye…”

          Larry the Cable Guy had a joke about foreigners working the counter at fast food restaurants who couldn’t understand him when he ordered a “sammich”.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ha….watching a movie is a lot handier than reading a book of course.

        • Phil

          Yes but Orwellian years are like biblical years. Make up whatever fits the narrative.

        • Phil

          Oh, what’s the point of rhetorical questions?

        • Paul

          Yes, they do make moral claims. But what’s their basis? If they are moral relativists, it’s nothing more than personal opinion.
          They can’t actually say if something is actually right or wrong. That’s what I was getting at. If you’re having trouble understanding something, don’t be afraid to ask.

        • Otto

          Again, everything you believe morally is just as relative as any other person’s morals. You get your morals from your religion, and your choice of religion is relative.

          Atheists get their morals from places other than religion. Just like a golfer doesn’t base their morals on golf, an atheist does not get their morals from atheism. You are pretending that your morals are superior because they come from your God, but you can’t substantiate that that is the case. It is your opinion that they do, but as you say “it’s nothing more than personal opinion”.

          >>>”They can’t actually say if something is actually right or wrong.”

          Yes they can, you are just spouting nonsense to prop up your faulty opinion that your morality is something super special, it’s not.

        • Paul

          “Yes they can”

          Well, yes, they can physically say that if that’s what you mean. But doing so would be pointless, because it would just be their personal opinion and not a matter fact.

          “Again, everything you believe morally is just as relative as any other person’s morals.”

          It that a fact or is it relative? Do you see the logical problem of moral relativity now?

        • Greg G.

          Well, yes, they can physically say that if that’s what you mean. But doing so would be pointless, because it would just be their personal opinion and not a matter fact.

          But you are just stating your opinion that it is God’s opinion that it is wrong, without considering whether it is causes unnecessary suffering.

          If there is objective morality, we have no access to it. So we are left to work it out for ourselves. Pretending you have God’s word on it is a stupid way to arrive at morality.

        • Lavir

          I will ask you two simple questions. Will rape ever become a good moral act in itself just because circumstances will render it a social norm? Was slavery good in the past just because it was a social norm adopted by every civilization? Tell me. Let’s see if you can be sincere and ponder for a little while before replying (so that later you don’t contradict yourself as it always happen in these instances). If there are no moral objective standards I guess you will have absolutely no problem on insisting that rape can change its moral nature from evil to good just because of contextual circumstances, is it not? Likewise you will have no problem on insisting that slaves in the past couldn’t understand that their slavery wasn’t something good, is it not? (If you do maybe you should research a little better historical documentation because I have no remembrance of any ancient civilization considering slaves as high members of society, or their position as something positive for themselves).

          Atheists as yourself, then, cannot even understand the difference between competing moral principles (so that one of the them can take the precedence depending on the context) and a change in the nature of the moral principle in itself (i.e. an evil moral principle transforming into a good one, in its nature, because of a change in the surrounding context). The fact that there can exist two (or more) competing moral actions so that one can take precedence over the other (or make the other necessary) has no minimal impact on the nature of the moral action in itself, that remains intact. In fact, if it wasn’t so, there would not be any competition to begin with, as if the nature of a moral act could change from good to evil just because of circumstances then there would be no choice to speak of, is it not? The recognition of the right course to take would become obvious. It is just because of the fact that the nature of different moral principles doesn’t change depending on the context that you can have difficult choices on which action to adopt given the circumstances.

          Let’s take killing in self defense, for example: the nature of the evil nature of killing another human being will NEVER change just because you can be forced – to preserve another life – to do so. Or do you really think that just because you can be forced to kill someone for defense that killing that person will magically become good in itself? No, it will not; killing another human being, nowithstanding the circumstances will never change its moral nature from evil to good, and it is for this that people that are forced to commit such an extreme act feel a great burden inside themselves for what they have done.

        • Susan

          a change in the nature of a moral principle in itself

          What is “the nature of a moral principle in itself”?

        • Lavir

          I don’t think it is difficult to understand, is it? The moral nature of the principle (or act) itself, for example its being good or evil. I thought it was obvious given that I also made different examples on the matter.

        • Susan

          The moral nature of the principle (or act) itself , for example its being good or evil.

          On what basis do you claim that an act is good or evil by nature?

          I also made different examples on the matter.

          That didn’t help.

        • Lavir

          By being made in the imago Dei. I’m not the one that has to justify moral absolutes that s/he uses everyday of his/her life and that are present throughout all history to then pretend they aren’t moral absolutes.

          Is Islamic jihad good or evil? Or it depends? Tell me. It depends on the day of the week?

          P.S: If you intend to play the post-modernist card, don’t even bother. In fact how can you even pretend to reply to me when language has no meaning at all?

        • Otto

          >>>”By being made in the imago Dei.”

          Well that is rather convenient, you just stacked the deck.

        • Lavir

          Convenient? That’s amusing. You start from the assumption that God doesn’t exist when you are actually trying to determine His existence. Isn’t that wonderful?

        • Otto

          I don’t start from the assumption that God doesn’t exist. I see no reason to think God does exist. That is a fine, but important, distinction. You need to show your work.

        • Greg G.

          I started with the assumption that God existed and realized that was not a logical position.

          But the existence of suffering proves that there is no entity that is both omnipotent and omnibenevolent. That means no maximally great god thingy.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Learn the Null Hypothesis.

          Not DISbelief, but *withholding* belief, until there is evidence is the rational method of evaluating the world.

        • Greg G.

          By being made in the imago Dei.

          That is a horrible justification. You are basing it on an imaginary object. It would be better to base it on an imaginary ideal instead of pretending your imaginary thing is real.

        • Lavir

          Yet again? The logic of the atheist is incredible. You pretend for people to justify the existence of God when you have already declared that He is an “imaginary object”. Well, call me surprised.

          Btw, will even a single one of you ever reply to one of my questions instead of evading all the time? Oh my…

        • Greg G.

          I already answered your questions. Did I not give the answers your script expected?

          Your imaginary object is indistinguishable from any other imaginary object. You make it “supernatural” to protect it from scrutiny.

          Show it is not imaginary, then we can talk about it as not imaginary.

        • Lavir

          You “replies” didn’t make any sense. You didn’t even read three words in a row (so much so that I already refuted your “I don’t think so” on slavery before you even tried to).

          Show me your existence is not imaginary. Then we can talk about God. Sorry I will not play your games, I know them all too well. When you are the one in control of what constitutes evidence no evidence will ever suffice. If it is like defending from an accusation of rape when the other side is the one that decides what rape is to being with.

        • Greg G.

          Are you sure you clicked “Post as Lavir”? I see “One other person is typing…” under my post and the comment I am replying to here is 5 minutes old already.

          My replies make sense. Maybe they are not what you imagined you would get.

        • MR

          Are you sure you clicked “Post as Lavir”?

          Is it objectively immoral to try to fool people into thinking you’re two different people?

        • Greg G.

          His post appeared shortly after that and the time stamp said “A few seconds ago” or something like that. So he may have typed it up and forgot to hit Post.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          You’re trying to *define* your ‘dei’ into existence.

          That doesn’t fly around here.

          Provide evidence or expect to be dismissed for lack thereof.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Until you SHOW me, why should I believe you?

          SHOW me, or don’t complain about my refusing to believe your ideas.

        • Susan

          By being made in the imago Dei.

          This is getting very circular.

          I’m not the one that has to justify moral absolutes that s/he uses everyday

          What moral absolutes do I use every day? I use moral principles but can’t proclaim them as being absolute.

          If you intend to play the post-modernist card

          I have no intention of doing that.

          when language has no meaning at all

          I think language has meaning but I can’t quite figure out what you’re trying to say.

          Something is bad or good because (some deity)?

          Where is the logical connection?

        • Lavir

          >>>> This is getting very circular.

          There’s nothing “circular”. It is so only when you, yet again, assume in advance the conclusion of something you are trying to determine.

          >>>> What moral absolutes do I use every day? I use moral principles but can’t proclaim them as being absolute.

          So I will ask again: do you think that slavery was good in the past because it was adopted by every ancient civilization? Will rape ever become a good action in itself if societal norms will change?

          And yet, EVERY atheist is a moral absolutist in action. If we will talk for a while it will become obvious. Just look at every video of every atheist around and you will see countless examples of moral absolutes. My last example of Islamic jihad was one of them.

          >>>>> I have no intention of doing that.

          In the meantime you had absolutely no problem on evading my question on Islamic jihad. How comes? Fear of demonstrating your own internal contradictions in action to everyone?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          And yet, EVERY atheist is a moral absolutist in action. If we will talk for a while it will become obvious.

          Then provide examples, or recant your offensive and false assertions.

        • Susan

          There’s nothing “circular”.

          It seems that it’s all circular.

          It has the “nature” of “good” because you think it’s “good” and the nature of “evil” because you think it’s “evil”.

          Because some god.

          I will ask again, do you think that slavery was good in the past

          No. Because when I talk about morality, I am talking about consequences to sentient beings.

          Will rape ever become a good action?

          No. Because when I talk about morality, I am talking about consequences to sentient beings.

          Aren’t you?

          EVERY atheist is a moral absolutist in action.

          No. They just don’t believe in god(s).

          In the meantime you had absolutely no problem on evading my question on Islamic jihad.

          I wasn’t evading. You listed moral positions we agree on (our opinion) and expect me to agree that there are moral absolutes.

          It does not follow any more than it follows with your examples of rape and slavery.

          The problem with (some versions) of islamic jihad is that they violate my position about the consequences to sentient beings. Women, homosexuals, infidels, that sort of thing.

          It’s imago Dei in Arabic instead of Latin.

        • Just look at every video of every atheist around and you will see countless examples of moral absolutes.

          And I see zero examples. Ever. You’ll have to go back to square 1 with me, I’m afraid, and coach me through this. (Pro tip: giving universally accepted moral examples will only get you derision and insults. I’m asking for good evidence that objective morality exists and that it’s reliably accessible by ordinary humans.)

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Start by demonstration that this so-called ‘dei’ even exists before you try conjuring with it.

          And “Islamic jihad” can also mean struggle within oneself against what one considers one’s own baser instincts and motives, so stop trying to use emotionally unattractive terms without context.

        • MR

          No doubt the Islamic jihadist thinks it’s just fine; so…, relative. The universe doesn’t care if we kill each other any more than we care if a lion kills another lion. The lion might care, but then, it’s all relative, isn’t it.

        • Greg G.

          The moral nature of the principle (or act) itself, for example its being good or evil.

          Is stealing good or evil? Is stealing food to feed one’s family good or evil? Is it equally good or evil as regular stealing?

          It is relative, not objectively evil.

        • Lavir

          >>> Is stealing food to feed one’s family good or evil?

          If stealing wasn’t evil in itself and it became good just because your family is starving then there would be no difficulty at all on the answer, is it? Stealing doesn’t become good just because it can become necessary to do so, it just means that other moral principles can take precedence.

          It is not difficult to understand, especially because I already explained all of this in detail already….

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          So you’d rather starve, or have your family starve, than steal food to keep them alive?

          Just making sure I understand you here.

        • MR

          Victor Hugo wrote a small essay based on that premise. What was objectively wrong was trying to turn it into a musical.

          https://danitorres.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/10/11/lesmiserables.gif

        • Greg G.

          What was objectively wrong was trying to turn it into a musical.

          Maybe they needed better singers instead of big stars.

          I saw it in the US, then went to Vietnam. We visited a big Cao Dai temple and I saw that said Victor Hugo was one of their saints.

          A few days later, our host took us to the movies to see Les Miserables. It had subtitles in Vietnamese but the soundtrack was the same.

          Earlier this year, our host’s daughter visited while we were there so I was able to get my question answered about whether she had planned that or was aware of it. She wasn’t, it was just a coincidence.

        • MR

          Maybe they should have just left it alone.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower
        • Greg G.

          it just means that other moral principles can take precedence.

          If moral principles have precedence, then they are not objective, the precedence is relative. Precedence is change subject to context. That means morality is subjective and relative.

          Your own argument proves your concept of morality is not objective. You are stuck on the word but your argument is against what you want to believe.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Nothing is inherently moral in and of itself.

          EVERYTHING is context.

          And my idea is that morality is the survival instincts of a SOCIETY, the same way biological drives aid survival in individual organisms.

        • MR

          Not to mention that behaviors that we label as “bad” can be beneficial to a species in certain circumstances. Kill or be killed can ensure survival when resources are scarce. The same for stealing. When members of the opposite sex are scarce or rarely encountered, taking advantage of an opportunity to copulate when the chance presents itself can ensure survival of a species—whether the action is welcomed or not. Other animals exhibit all kinds of behaviors that we would label as “bad” in the context of our modern, human existence but which we consider amoral in the context of “life” simply trying to survive.

        • Otto

          >>>”And it is for this that people that are forced to commit such an extreme act feel a great burden inside themselves for what they have done.”

          You mean everyone who has killed in self defense has felt a ‘great burden’? I don’t believe that is the case.

          >>>”Let’s take killing in self defense, for example: the nature of the evil nature of killing another human being will NEVER change just because you can be forced – to preserve another life – to do so.”

          I don’t agree, if I need to stop someone from doing great harm to another person by killing the offender, the nature of the act of killing a person is not evil. Killing such a person is not only justified, but I have no problem defining it as good.

        • Lavir

          >>>>I don’t agree, if I need to stop someone from doing great harm to another person by killing the offender, the nature of the act of killing a person is not evil

          So you REALLY think that killing a person becomes a good thing (in itself, NOT for the context at hand, you are exchanging the good that comes from preserving a life over the evil of killing a person for the latter becoming good) because the action is done in self defense? If that’s so tell me; if you had the easy chance to subdue that person in all tranquility instead of killing him, and killing was just an option, what of the two would have you gone for? I suppose killing anyway since killing the man has magically turned into a good act in itself because of self defense, is it not?

          Please, people, ponder a little on the things I’m saying instead of replying the first thing that comes to mind.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          If killing the person will stop the person from killing MANY others, or doing worse and TORTURING & killing many others, is the old way to stop the perpetrator, then it’s a morally indeterminate act: bad in itself but necessary for the safety of the public.

        • Otto

          >>>”So you REALLY think that killing a person becomes a good thing (in itself, NOT for the context at hand) because the action is done in self defense?”

          1. Context does matter, which you show by describing it as ‘self-defense’, if context didn’t matter you would just ask ‘is killing a person is a good thing?’, but you didn’t, you added “in self defense”, because that context matters.
          2. To answer your question, yes I think killing a person in self defense or as a measure to stop more harm if there is not another option is a good action. In such a situation it would actually be vile not to take that action if it was necessary.

          >>>”If that’s so tell me; if you had a chance to subdue that person in all tranquility instead of killing him, and killing was just an option, what of the two would have you gone for?”

          Now you have changed the context, since there is another non-lethal option of course taking a non-lethal action is better, but that does not change the fact that if there is not another non-lethal option killing the person to stop great harm is justified and good.

          If you have the power to stop great harm and you don’t use that power, such an omission would itself be malicious. You believe that God has the power to stop all sorts of ills in the world and yet doesn’t lift a finger to do anything…and you consider that good. Your view is the one that lacks consistency.

          >>>”Please, people, ponder a little on the things I’m saying instead of replying the first thing that comes to mind.”

          You need to stop assuming you are right and actually make a reasonable argument. All you are doing is presenting hypothetical’s and assuming there can be no other correct answer than the one you hold, and you are being an arrogant asshole to boot.

        • Susan

          Please, people, ponder a little on the things I’m saying instead of replying the first thing that comes to mind.

          People are responding thoughtfully.

          It’s that you have this concept of inherent “goodness” and “evil” that is the “nature” of something.

          We have to calibrate our decisions. And we have to begin with axioms and try to be consistent We agree on that.

          Ideally, I don’t have to kill anyone. Most times, no one wants to kill me so I don’t have to think about it. In a situation where it’s necessary to neutralize someone’s attempts to harm others, and I don’t have to kill them to do so, it would be good just to neutralize those attempts.

          When the only way available to me to neutralize those attempts is to kill them, then it is good (but not ideal) to kill them.

          We are in the same boat.

          I hope neither one of us is ever in that situation.

          If we were, I hope we would do the best thing we are capable of doing under the circumstances.

          That does not require absolutes.

          Just principles based on axioms.

        • Greg G.

          Will rape ever become a good moral act in itself just because circumstances will render it a social norm?

          I do not think so. But people at that time in the future may be more or less enlightened than I am now.

          Was slavery good in the past just because it was a social norm adopted by every civilization?

          I do not think so. But people at that time in the past may be more or less enlightened than I am now.

          If there are no moral objective standards I guess you will have absolutely no problem on insisting that rape can change its moral nature from evil to good just because of contextual circumstances, is it not?

          I think people have a right to bodily autonomy and nobody should impose their will on others.

          Likewise you will have no problem on insisting that slaves in the past couldn’t understand that theri slavery wasn’t something good, is it not?

          Slavery is relatively better than being killed or starved. It is not better than thriving in a free society with rationally distributed wealth.

          (If you do maybe you should research a little better historical documentation because I have no remembrance of any ancient civilization considering slaves as high members of society, or their position as something positive for themselves).

          Atheists as yourself, then, cannot even understand the difference between competing moral principles (so that one of the two can take the precedence depending on the context) and a change in the nature of the moral principle in itself (i.e. an evil moral principle transforming into a good one, in its nature, because of the surrounding context or for competing principles).

          Baloney! I argue that competing moral principles are evidence that there are no objective principles. If one supercedes another, then at least one is relative.

          Let’s take killing in self defense, for example: the nature of the evil nature of killing another human being will NEVER change just because you can be forced – to preserve another life – to do so. Or do you really think that just because you can be forced to kill someone for defense that killing that person will magically become good in itself? No, it will not; killing another human being, nowithstanding the circumstances will never change its moral nature from evil to good, and it is for this that people that are forced to commit such an extreme act feel a great burden inside themselves for what they have done.

          No, I think killing in self-defense is morally justified, not that it is good. It is the lesser of two evils. The moral precept against killing is relative to the situation, not objectively completely wrong.

        • Lavir

          >>> I do not think so. But people at that time in the future may be more or less enlightened than I am now.

          What it means “I do not think so”? I asked if rape will ever become a good moral action because of change of moral norms. Do you understand “I don’t think so” is not an answer to such a question? I guess you don’t. Oh my…

          >>> I do not think so. But people at that time in the past may be more or less enlightened than I am now.

          Wow, copy/paste, even when I actually demonstrated the fact that history proves the last part of your absurdity wrong. At least have the courtesy to read what others write, IN FULL, before replying.

          >>> I think people have a right to bodily autonomy and nobody should impose their will on others.

          I didn’t ask for what you think on rape, I asked you if rape can ever change its moral nature. Stop replying nonsense.

          >>> Slavery is relatively better than being killed or starved

          That has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I was talking about on the matter.

          This is hopeless.

          Wow, is this really the “logical acumen” of the atheist? Boy.

        • Greg G.

          What it means “I do not think so”? I asked if rape will ever become a good moral action because of change of moral norms. Do you understand “I don’t think so” is not an answer to such a question? I guess you don’t. Oh my…

          There is no objectively good moral action. What may be good for one person may be bad for someone else. Your questions are formed like “Do you still beat your wife?” You are using word play to force a response but your position is illogical.

          I didn’t ask for what you think on rape, I asked you if rape can ever change its moral nature. Stop replying nonsense.

          I expect that a rapist thinks rape is wonderful. I do not. The person being raped doesn’t either. The moral nature of rape is relative.

          That has absolutely NOTHING to do with what I was talking about on the matter.

          This is hopeless.

          Religion has warped your mind so that you cannot function morally. You have to be told what is good and bad. Life is not always good. Sometimes there is no good answer so you must accept the option that appears to be not the worst. But without perfect foresight, you cannot tell for certain which will be the best in the end.

          We can use empathy and reason to select the moral action that seems most likely to cause the least harm and the best chance of thriving.

        • MR

          The word itself is a loaded question. We don’t call it rape when a lion does it; nor do we ascribe moral overtones to the act in that instance. Saying it’s wrong when one animal (man) does it, and withholding any moral judgment when another animal does it is a clear indication that objectivity is not at play here.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          CONSENT is the issue.

          Rape will never be good because it’s a violation of consent.

          Slavery was NEVER good, but it was a social norm (and still is in parts of the world). It was a social norm because it’s VERY economically lucrative for the slaveholder. We’re trying to create a world where such slaveholders are shunned and stripped of the financial value that makes slavery lucrative.

        • Ignorant Amos

          I will ask you two simple questions. Will rape ever become a good moral act in itself just because social norms can change on the matter?

          It was…and not all that long ago…which is what made it relative.

          Was slavery good in the past just because it was a social norm?

          It was…and not all that long ago…which is what made it relative.

          If a time comes when folk think those things are okay, then what we think in the here and now will be irrelevant. It will be relative to the people, time and place.

        • Will rape ever become a good act in itself just because social norms can change on the matter? Was slavery good just because it was a social norm in the past? Tell me.

          They were both good in biblical times, and now they’re both bad. Sounds like social norms change—but perhaps we already agree there. If you’re asking what the objectively correct answer is, I don’t see one. Looks like morality is relative.

          The fact that there can exist two (or more) competing moral actions so that one can take place over the other (or make the other necessary)

          What’s the algorithm? Show us that it’s universally agreed to. Otherwise, it’s just your opinion (with which I have no problem; just don’t pretend that this is objective morality).

          Let’s take killing in self defense, for example

          You’re retreating by using an example we all agree to. Take a controversial one: abortion or capital punishment, for example.

        • Otto

          >>>”They can’t actually say if something is actually right or wrong.”

          No it is not pointless because then, as with anything, we as a group can discuss it and come to some sort of consensus based on reasoning and evidence.

          >>>”It that a fact or is it relative? Do you see the logical problem of moral relativity now?”

          Oh, aren’t you cute. Do you really think such trite word play is going to show me the error of my ways? Your morality is relative…you dodge that issue because you know you can’t support the claim you are making that it is not….that is the logical problem YOU have to deal with and instead you stick your fingers in your ears and ignore the elephant in the room.

        • Paul

          “Your morality is relative…”

          Is that objective? How can you demonstrate that my morality is relative?

          “Do you really think such trite word play is going to show me the error of my ways?”

          I’m not sure what will convince you of the errors of your ways.

        • Ignorant Amos

          How can you demonstrate that my morality is relative?

          Do you think slavery is good?

          If not, why not?

        • Paul

          Answering a question with a question doesn’t demonstrate that morality is relative.
          If you’re trying to imply that 2 people can disagree on a moral issue, that is true. But if 2 people disagree on what’s right and wrong, you can’t logically conclude that morality is relative. That would be a non sequitur. It’s just means that 2 people disagree. And they both can’t be right. So morality can’t be relative.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Answering a question with a question doesn’t demonstrate that morality is relative.

          You answer to the question will though. What are you afraid of?

          At this point, I am concluding that you haven’t a clue what you are talking about and don’t know what the term “moral relativism” means.

          Moral relativism is the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint (for instance, that of a culture or a historical period) and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.

          If you’re trying to imply that 2 people can disagree on a moral issue, that is true.

          In a democracy, if 2 people think something is good and 1 other thinks it’s bad, the view of the two wins. Scale that up and the morality of the majority is what becomes the law. The law, and by extension, morality, is relative to the the major. If the the majority of folk think something is good, then relative to their belief, such morals are good, while they are bad, relative to the minority.

          So, back to the question of slavery…some cultures have no qualms about keeping slaves…slavery isn’t bad relative to their culture. A couple of centuries ago, the U.S. felt the same…relative to today, back then, slavery was a good thing.

          But if 2 people disagree on what’s right and wrong, you can’t logically conclude that morality is relative.

          Yes I can…and modern research is demonstrating with empirical results why.

          https://www.philosophersmag.com/essays/110-is-morality-relative

          That would be a non sequitur.

          Stop making statements if ya don’t know what they mean.

          It’s just means that 2 people disagree. And they both can’t be right. So morality can’t be relative.

          If 2 people disagree, how can what they disagree on be objective?

          Islamic Jihadi’s think it is their moral duty to chop the heads off all infidels…many Muslims agree…why is it immoral? Why don’t they agree with you?

          Read the article I linked to.

        • Paul

          “Stop making statements if ya don’t know what they mean.”

          Stop making assumptions. Non sequitur means “it does not follow” If 2 people disagree on something being right or wrong, it does not follow that morality is relative.

          “If 2 people disagree, how can what they disagree on be objective?”

          The same way 2 people can look and the exact same facts and come to 2 different conclusions about what the facts mean: they have different worldviews. But 2 people can also have different worldviews, but still come to same conclusion that something is wrong (like murder for example). If someone is a humanist, I can certainly see how they would conclude that morality is relative, but then they still have to deal with the logical problem of relative morality. Something cannot be both right and wrong at the same time.

        • Greg G.

          Protestants and Catholics have different positions on moral issues. Mainstreamers and Evangelicals disagree on moral issues.Evangelical disagree with other Evangelicals. If each side thinks their morality is objective, which is right? They both can’t be right, can they?

          Figure that out, then get back with us with the answer.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Stop making assumptions. Non sequitur means “it does not follow” If 2 people disagree on something being right or wrong, it does not follow that morality is relative.

          But it does…depending on ones point of view and the subject matter.

          Take abortion…is it morally wrong? Why?

          Take suicide…is it morally wrong? Why?

          The same way 2 people can look and the exact same facts and come to 2 different conclusions about what the facts mean: they have different worldviews.

          Which makes their conclusions right or wrong RELATIVE to their worldviews.

          But 2 people can also have different worldviews, but still come to same conclusion that something is wrong (like murder for example).

          That is irrelevant to this discussion. We are arguing disagreements, not agreements. Not all worldviews agree on the definition of murder. It’s the differences that make it relative.

          If someone is a humanist, I can certainly see how they would conclude that morality is relative, but then they still have to deal with the logical problem of relative morality.

          A problem you have failed to outline…while it has been demonstrated that relative morality exists…you just keep hand waving it away without providing a counter in support of your position…so until ya do…pah!

          Something cannot be both right and wrong at the same time.

          Depending on whose perspective and the scenario…yes it can. Is it always wrong to lie?

          Some people think abortion is wrong…probably you are one of them..some people think it is not…me…some people think it depends on the situation…who is right and why?

        • Greg G.

          A problem you have failed to outline…while it has been demonstrated that relative morality exists…you just keep hand waving it away without providing a counter in support of your position…so until ya do…pah!

          That method works on the simple minded and him. He thinks he is smart so it should work on everyone. He probably thinks putting lemon juice on your head makes you invisible to cameras, too.

        • If 2 people disagree on something being right or wrong, it does not follow that morality is relative.

          It means either that objective morality doesn’t exist, or objective morality does exist but we humans can’t reliably access it. Either way, you lose.

          If someone is a humanist, I can certainly see how they would conclude that morality is relative, but then they still have to deal with the logical problem of relative morality. Something cannot be both right and wrong at the same time.

          What logical problem? People do indeed disagree on whether something is right or wrong. You and I likely disagree on abortion, euthanasia, and capital punishment. How is this evidence for objective morality??

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Per Bozo-Paul, that answer is ‘easy’…YOU’RE JUST WRONG!

          /s

        • Dang! I was hoping that that obvious flaw in my argument wouldn’t be called out so quickly.

        • Paul

          For the sake of argument, let’s say that the ethical property of murder is “wrong.” Can any such beliefs by Islamic Jihadis and other Muslims do anything to change the ethical property of murder to “right.”?
          And now, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the ethical property of murder is “right.” Is there anything that you and I to change that?
          It doesn’t matter what people believe, they can’t do anything to change the ethical property of murder. They can even try to justify their beliefs all they want. At the end of the day, you just have 2 people disagreeing. One is correct and one is not.
          As finite human beings, it can be difficult to determine the ethical property of moral values. But that’s no excuse to just throw up your hands and say that morality is relative. It’s time to really dig in and determine what the ethical value is. But like I said, different worldviews will lead people to different conclusions.

        • Pofarmer

          But like I said, different worldviews will lead people to different conclusions.

          Congratulations, you’ve just torpedoed your own argument, you can shut the fuck up now.

        • Ignorant Amos

          For the sake of argument, let’s say that the ethical property of murder is “wrong.”

          Define murder first. Murder is the illegal taking of another persons life. But the illegal taking of another persons life means different things in different cultures and at different times. So the ethical property of murder is different depending who you are and where you are given the definition.

          Heck, within the US state killing is permissible depending on where you live. Other states think it is ethically wrong. Abortion is the same. Killing an intruder in the states is ethically permissible….here in the UK it isn’t.

          Can any such beliefs by Islamic Jihadis and other Muslims do anything to change the ethical property of murder to “right.”?

          Is this a trick question? Define murder? Cutting the heads off Christians because they are Christians isn’t murder in the ISIS controled parts of the world….even if you think it is…because it is RELATIVE to the folk in charge, place, culture, and time. What you think about it doesn’t matter. Mundane crimes are punishable by death in some countries based on religious ethics making it the right thing to do. Homosexuality and adultery spring to mind, am sure there are others. Are you really so cretinous that the concept is so alien?

          Getting caught with a copy of the Bible in a language other than a language mandated by the Holy See was a death sentence at one time. The religious morons deemed it the morally right thing to do at the time, place, and culture. Because it was, RELATIVE to the time, place, and time. That most folk today think that was morally reprehensible is irrelevant.

          And now, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the ethical property of murder is “right.” Is there anything that you and I to change that?

          Ya didn’t read the link, did ya?

          Yep. We can change the definition of murder. It has been done all the time. It wasn’t murder to stone someone to death for collecting sticks on a Sabbath…now most civilized people think it is. Being gay was morally reprehensible in the eyes of the UK state…one of my heroes, Alan Turing, instrumental in the Allies winning the war, was chemically castrated…some say state assassinated too…because he was Gay. At the time and culture it was deemed morally wrong to be Gay. But not today. Because people like me, against people like you, changed the moral thinking about Gay folk.

          It doesn’t matter what people believe, they can’t do anything to change the ethical property of murder. They can even try to justify their beliefs all they want. At the end of the day, you just have 2 people disagreeing. One is correct and one is not.

          Fucking rot….redefine the name of it to say collateral damage and killing women and children is no longer murder. but an unavoidable accident. You yanks no longer hang horse thief’s…why is that? Because morally, it is deemed wrong…when once it was deemed right. Why have you no black people as slaves?

          As finite human beings, it can be difficult to determine the ethical property of moral values. But that’s no excuse to just throw up your hands and say that morality is relative. It’s time to really dig in and determine what the ethical value is. But like I said, different worldviews will lead people to different conclusions.

          Ha ha…ya dopey fecker…you’ve just supported moral relativity exists. Why don’t you go away and learn what it is you are trying to refute, before putting your foot any further down your throat.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Explain away how murdering doctors who perform abortions gets fundagelicals lionized rather than condemned, sentenced, and confined, then.

          YOUR KIND do it, too, you just have fewer fanatics.

        • For the sake of argument, let’s say that the ethical property of murder is “wrong.” Can any such beliefs by Islamic Jihadis and other Muslims do anything to change the ethical property of murder to “right.”?

          What you mean to say is: “For the sake of argument, let’s say that objective morality exists, we humans can reliably access it, and the objectively correct category for murder is ‘wrong.’”

          Translated: “For the sake of argument, let’s say that I’m right.”

          No, let’s not.

          It doesn’t matter what people believe, they can’t do anything to change the ethical property of murder.

          Are you trying to avoid saying “objective morality”? Going forward, you’ll be clearer (in particular, to yourself) if you reveal where you’re assuming objective morality.

        • Ignorant Amos

          For the sake of argument, let’s say that the ethical property of murder is “wrong.”

          But the definition of what is murder differs depending on ones perspective, time, culture, and place.

          Is genocide morally wrong? Most would say it is…it’s murder. But obviously that doesn’t include the group who is committing the genocide. They don’t think it is wrong for x, y, and z reasons.

          So the ethical property of murder isn’t right or wrong…it is relative. The Bible details when YahwehJesus advocated the genocide of whole groups. It details what and how it should be carried out…how the spoils are to divided, etc,. it even advocates the taking and raping of sex slaves. The chosen tribe of the book were morally right because YahwehJesus said it was right. Those poor buggers on the receiving end, not so much.

          In the middle east, who is murdering who and why? Who has the moral high ground, the Israeli’s or the Palestinian’s?

          Have you heard about the Trolley Problem thought experiment and it’s variations?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg16u_bzjPE

          Can any such beliefs by Islamic Jihadis and other Muslims do anything to change the ethical property of murder to “right.”?

          What is murder to us is not murder to them. They believe they have the moral right of way, because their god says so in their holy book. That makes what is deemed murder, relative.

          And now, for the sake of argument, let’s say that the ethical property of murder is “right.” Is there anything that you and I to change that?

          Yes…and it has been done loads of times. Is abortion murder? Who says and why?

          They can even try to justify their beliefs all they want. At the end of the day, you just have 2 people disagreeing. One is correct and one is not.

          And depending on who you are, where, and when, will depend on who you believe is morally right or wrong. A Roman Catholic will more likely declare abortion is murder, a secular humanist will more likely not. Who is right will depend on what camp one is in…making it relative by definition.

          As finite human beings, it can be difficult to determine the ethical property of moral values. But that’s no excuse to just throw up your hands and say that morality is relative. It’s time to really dig in and determine what the ethical value is. But like I said, different worldviews will lead people to different conclusions.

          Which is the very definition of moral relativism…thanks for making my case.

          https://ethicsunwrapped.utexas.edu/glossary/moral-relativism

        • Ignorant Amos

          And they both can’t be right. So morality can’t be relative.

          But they can, so it can.

        • Paul

          “But they can, so it can.”

          Really? Let’s take murder as an example. It has an ethical value. Can you demonstrate that the ethical value of murder can be both right and wrong at the same time? If 2 people disagree about whether it’s right or wrong, that doesn’t change its ethical value. How do you determine that the ethical property of murder is both right and wrong?

        • Greg G.

          Murder is defined as being wrong. You are not using a good example. A killing in self-defense is not murder. It is justifiable homicide. If the killing is not justified, it is called man-slaughter or various degrees of murder.

          Ask the question about killing instead. Then you get different answers that show that the morality is relative to the situation.

          You don’t know what you are talking about but you can’t shut up.

        • Pofarmer

          You don’t know what you are talking about but you can’t shut up.

          We seem to get that a lot.

        • Ignorant Amos

          The definition of the word in the 6th commandment had to be redefined from kill to murder…but then the problem becomes a relative one…who decides what is murder and what is run-of-the-mill killing?

        • Greg G.

          According to a recent SMBC comic, God doesn’t run-of-the-mill killing, he wants genocide.

        • Pofarmer

          Is it ok to Stone to death a woman who has been raped?

        • Greg G.

          Not if she was raped in the country but if she was raped in the city it is objectively immoral to not stone her.

        • Pofarmer

          Technicalities.

        • epeeist

          Let’s take murder as an example.

          Let’s take an even simpler example. Is it moral to assault a reporter who is asking you questions? Is it moral to support someone who commits such an assault?

        • MR

          Christian support of the likes of Trump show just how bankrupt modern Christianity has become and exposes the lie of objectivity.

        • epeeist

          I was in Manchester today and passed the Quaker Meeting House. They had a quotation by John Bright on a board outside, “What is morally wrong cannot be politically right.”

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Broken clock, twice a day, etc…

          IMHO

        • Ignorant Amos

          The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki…end of.

          Is stealing always wrong?

          Is it morally wrong for a starving person to steal a loaf of bread from the pantry of a multi billionaire in order to feed starving children?

          Is it always morally wrong to lie?

          Can you not think of a situation where two people, one wanting to be truthful, one wanting to tell a lie, could both have the moral high ground?

          Think about it, then answer….truthfully.

        • MR

          Hollywood has built an industry out of morally ambiguous scenarios. Shows like The Walking Dead are just one moral dilemma after another. Objectivity is a nice fantasy, but it doesn’t take much for even a screenwriter to expose the fallacy of objectivity.

        • Let’s take murder as an example. It has an ethical value.

          You’re assuming objective morality here. You need to prove this remarkable claim first.

        • Greg G.

          Answering a question with a question doesn’t demonstrate that morality is relative.

          But never answering the question about how you can demonstrate that morality is objective is a great indication that morality cannot be shown to be objective.

          But if 2 people disagree on what’s right and wrong, you can’t logically conclude that morality is relative.

          But it doesn’t mean that one has objective morality, either. You have to show that you have objective morality. You have been asked approximately a jillion times to do so. You have no claim to objective morality if you cannot show it.

          And they both can’t be right. So morality can’t be relative.

          Is that an example of your logic? Two people are not the same height so they can’t both be the tallest person in the world, therefore tallness is not relative?

          Two mothers, one parachute, aircraft with a blown engine. Each thinks she her own family morally deserves to have a mother. Both have the same reasons for thinking that. Why can’t they both be objectively right? If we go to the Bible and consult the wisdom of Solomon, they should cut the parachute in half. But isn’t it better if one mother lives than both die? Give us the method that could be used to determine the objectively moral solution.

          I bet you can’t.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s just means that 2 people disagree.
          And they both can’t be right.

          Sure they can. Is sex slavery moral or not? Obviously the folks kidnapping girls for sex slaves think it’s perfectly moral to do so. The girls, probably not so much. Moral vary from belief system to belief system and society to society in ways that are so numerous they can’t be counted. This ought to be obvious to anyone who has ever paid attention in, say, a history class.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Kinda gotta disagree. The slavERs don’t care whether it’s moral when they’re on top, but they’d care a LOT if they were ever taken.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Which would make their morals relative to their position. Good when they are making money, bad when they are being exploited.

        • Otto

          I think you are both right, some people don’t care if slavery is immoral, but there are some slavers who thought slavery was moral too.

        • David Cromie

          “…some slavers [] thought slavery was moral too”, and they used the so-called ‘bible’ (specifically the OT, which condones slavery) to justify their trade in slaves.

        • Greg G.

          For instance, George D. Armstrong’s 1857 The Christian Doctrine of Slavery
          http://www.unz.org/Pub/ArmstrongGeorge-1857

          ETA: Wikipedia says:

          According to family letters, Custer was named after George Armstrong, a minister, in his devout mother’s hope that her son might join the clergy.

          I wonder if that is the same George Armstrong.

          Wiki also says Custer was last in his graduating class but the class had 45 dropouts and 22 of those were to join the Confederacy.

        • David Cromie

          Human rights are universally applicable, whether slave-traders think so or not.

        • Pofarmer

          You and I might like that to be the case, but we both know that they’re not on a whole host of issues.

        • David Cromie

          Indeed, but that does not negate the principle, but should encourage us to remedy any lack of human rights wherever they manifest themselves.

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah. I think we’re violently agreeing, here.

        • Greg G.

          George D. Armstrong’s 1857 The Christian Doctrine of Slavery
          http://www.unz.org/Pub/ArmstrongGeorge-1857

        • Ignorant Amos

          Jacobus Elisa Johannes Capitein(born ca. 1717; died 1747) was a Dutch Christian minister of Ghanaian birth who was one of the first known sub-Saharan Africans to study at a European university and one of the first Africans to be ordained as a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church. He is credited with spreading the use of the written word in his native Ghana.

          Though a former slave, Capitein wrote a dissertation defending the right of Christians to keep slaves.

          During his time at Leiden, Capitein did not challenge the general attitude towards slavery in the Dutch republic. In his dissertation De servitude, libertati christianae non contraria on March 10, 1742, he defended slavery as niet strydig tegen de christelyke vryheid (“not in conflict with Christian liberty”). He stressed that a slave who becomes a Christian does not need to be freed, and that slave owners therefore should allow their slaves to be baptized.

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

        • David Cromie

          That same church actively supported white supremacy, racism, and apartheid in South Africa.

        • Otto

          Better question…how can you demonstrate your morality is objective? You say your morality is different and better than every other person’s that does not share you belief. That is your claim, so the burden is on you.

        • Paul

          “Better question…how can you demonstrate your morality is objective?”

          That would be shifting the burden of proof. I’ve been trying to get Bob to demonstrate his position that morality is relative.

          “You say your morality is different and better than everyone that does not share you belief.That is your claim….”

          Where did I say that? Have a quote? Otherwise, it’s just you claiming that I said that.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Where did I say that? Have a quote? Otherwise, it’s just you claiming that I said that.

          That’s not what you believe then?

        • Greg G.

          That would be shifting the burden of proof. I’ve been trying to get Bob to demonstrate his position that morality is relative.

          You have been avoiding your burden of proof for at least a year now. You have been asked repeatedly.

          You have been given many examples where there is no objective moral position. You cannot answer because any attempt would show that the morality is relative. So you ignore them.

        • Otto

          You said “If they are moral relativists, it’s nothing more than personal opinion. They can’t actually say if something is actually right or wrong”,…. that directly implies that your morality is different and not personal opinion…any chance you are going to get around to showing how that is the case or are you just going to pretend that saying it makes it true?

          For the record I don’t think morality is purely relative, or purely objective.

        • Greg G.

          Is that objective? How can you demonstrate that my morality is relative?

          You don’t have an objective means of detecting it. All you have is feelings.

          I’m not sure what will convince you of the errors of your ways.

          You haven’t tried presenting premises based on evidence and unfallacious arguments yet. When are you going to get around to that?

        • Paul

          “You don’t have an objective means of detecting it. All you have is feelings.”

          So the statement made my Otto, “Your morality is relative”, is based on feelings and there’s no objective means of detecting it. He stated it as if it were a matter of fact. But your saying it’s not a fact that “your morality is relative.” To summarize: it’s not objectively true that morality is relative. Got it.

        • Greg G.

          Is there something wrong with your “B” key? I have seen about three times today where you typed “my” when you apparently mean “by”.

          So the statement made my Otto, “Your morality is relative”, is based on feelings and there’s no objective means of detecting it.

          His statement is from the observation that you cannot support that morality is objective. Your morality is as relative as anyone else’s but your method of arriving at it is irrational. You imagine what an imaginary being would want and pretend that would be objective.

          If you want to argue that morality is objective, then give a proof of it that doesn’t resort to how people feel about it. If that is all you can argue, then it is subjective and not objective, so when people disagree, it is relative.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          I won’t believe your morality is *objective* until you demonstrate it.

          Go.

        • How can you demonstrate that my morality is relative?

          By asking you to defend your remarkable claim of objective morality.

        • Paul

          “No it is not pointless because then, as with anything, we as a group can
          discuss it and come to some sort of consensus based on reasoning and
          evidence.”

          But by doing so, you’re demonstrating that morality is not relative. You can say that they are relative, but you’re demonstrating something completely different.

        • Otto

          Oh, so morality without God is also objective? Now you are saying your morality is the same and not special. Why all the posturing than?

        • Greg G.

          But by doing so, you’re demonstrating that morality is not relative.

          Is it moral to break into someone’s home, threaten the people inside, then kill them? Is it moral for someone to break into your house, threaten everyone inside, then you kill the intruder? If you give have different answers, then the morality of the two situations is relative.

          I think it is immoral for you to kill in the first situation but moral for you to kill in the second. But if there is objective morality, then killing is either right or wrong and not relative to the situation.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          The standard is avoiding harm.

          If you can’t understand that, you’ve got bigger problems than your authoritarian tendencies.

        • Phil

          What nobody has stated, unless I have missed it, what do you mean by morality? Then we can decide what is and isn’t moral based on that definition.

        • Greg G.

          Phil, it is objectively immoral to ask that question. I know because I can feel it in my bones.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          LOL, for reals 😉

        • It that a fact or is it relative? Do you see the logical problem of moral relativity now?

          Nope.

          You act as if the normal way of conversing is by sharing objectively true facts. How is this possible when you can’t even say with certainty that you’re not in the Matrix?

        • Greg G.

          Was it moral to not have your child stoned for sassing you before Moses?
          Was it moral to not have your child stoned for sassing you between Moses and Jesus?
          Is it moral to not have your child stoned for sassing you now?

          The Bible ordered that children who disrespect their parents to be stoned in the New Testament about not doing that.

          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.

          Is this what you call objective morality? If not, then where do you get access to objective morality?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yes, they do make moral claims. But what’s their basis?

          Not from their golfing or cycling, which is the point.

          If they are moral relativists, it’s nothing more than personal opinion.

          Indeed…and when more than one of them agree on a moral claim, we have intersubjective morality.

          They can’t actually say if something is actually right or wrong.

          Of course they can ya moron. That’s why some folk think slavery, child abuse, rape, etc. are bad and have created laws against such actions, in spite of your religious handbook…while others think a woman’s body is her own and she should have control over what happens to it…and why laws have been made to secure such, in spite of the morality of others. Capiche? I guess not.

          That’s what I was getting at. If you’re having trouble understanding something, don’t be afraid to ask.

          You are the one with the comprehension issues ya feckin’ eejit.

        • Phil

          Some theists take moral actions or non-actions that are directly contradicted by their handbook. Such as not stoning their children. I am pretty sure it is a big list.

        • Ignorant Amos

          At least 613 last time I looked…

          http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm

          …some really crazy mad shite in that handbook for sure.

        • Phil

          Doesn’t that prove that their morality does not come from it?

        • Ignorant Amos

          Indeed…at least most of them…there are the ultra extremists that attempt follow the letter of The Law to some really barmy extremes of course. But even those woo-woo’s ignore lot’s of the rules…or more importantly, the penalties for breaking said rules.

          The fact that very few believers abide by the handbook in this day and age, demonstrates their moral relativism.

        • Phil

          So that is it then. End of discussion. Unless someone can reconcile the unreconcilable!

        • Ignorant Amos

          Ya’d think so wouldn’t ya? Still, the holy rollers plough on regardless anyway…knobhead Paul being a case in example.

      • Paul

        “But theologies do make moral claims.”

        I think you meant theologians make moral claims.

        “Atheists do not incorporate their moral claims on the basis of atheism.”

        But they do have a basis for moral claims which is the point I was trying to make. That’s what I’m getting at, but people on this site want to get into semantics instead of getting to the real issue.

        • Greg G.

          I think you meant theologians make moral claims.

          Theologians say what their theology says. It is just imaginary beliefs anyway.

          But they do have a basis for moral claims which is the point I was trying to make. That’s what I’m getting at, but people on this site want to get into semantics instead of getting to the real issue.

          We treat others the way we would like to be treated and we do not treat others the way we would not like to be treated. This simple formula was stated by others many times before it was attributed to Jesus.

          You cannot know what is objectively moral even if anything was objectively moral. Since you cannot know this, you have no reason to believe what a supernatural being says is moral, especially since you cannot distinguish a supernatural being from an imaginary supernatural being. Since you cannot get past this issue, you can only state your opinion of an imaginary being’s opinion of morality.

          We base our morality on empathy and reason, the same way other cultures have interacted for centuries since long before there were any Jews or Christians. There are some basic moral behaviors that are seen in chimpanzees. They are good for social creatures but detrimental for asocial creatures so they are relative, not objective.

        • Paul

          “You cannot know what is objectively moral even if anything was objectively moral.”

          Is that an objective statement? How do you know?

        • Greg G.

          Is that an objective statement?

          Yes.

          How do you know?

          Morality is a concept with no properties that can be detected and evaluated objectively.

          Of course, you could show a method that shows how it can be objectively evaluated, even in principle.

        • David Cromie

          Try judging actions by their outcomes.

        • Greg G.

          I think we have to judge the decisions by the reasonably anticipated outcomes. Taking someone to the hospital in an emergency might be a good thing but not if it puts you in the path of someone else rushing to the hospital. But waiting 5 seconds to allow that person to pass would put you in the path of someone else at the next intersection.

    • Technically true, but I could say that religion makes no moral claims and it would be technically true.

      Wow, we really aren’t on the same page, are we?

      Atheism is one answer (“No”) to one question (“Do you have a god belief?”). That’s it. Christianity, with its 800,000-word Bible and 2000 years of tradition and 21 ecumenical councils have much to say about many, many things, including morality.

      Atheism says nothing about morality, just like chemistry says nothing about morality.

      People, including atheists, are the ones that make moral claims.

      Then point to the worldview that they have.

      Let me help you out. I’m thinking of one that starts with “Human-“ and ends with “-ism.” Can you guess what it is? You could look at that one and criticize if you’re looking for a worldview that some atheists subscribe to.

      • Paul

        I trying to understand your worldview – whether it has a label or not.

        “Atheism says nothing about morality”

        Yes, you already said that. But the fact remains that atheists say things about morality. Concepts, like atheism and religion, can’t physically say anything. But people can. You’ve said a lot of things about morality. Religious PEOPLE say things about morality. Are we on the same page now?

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          Category error.

          Car mechanics probably talk about morals, too, but does it have anything to do with their mechanical skills, training, and knowledge?

        • the fact remains that atheists say things about morality

          Right. So let’s try to find the worldview (secular humanism would be one candidate) that might encompass where they’re coming from.

          Concepts, like atheism and religion, can’t physically say anything.

          ?? You’re lumping two very different things together. Yes, they each answer the god question, but that’s the only overlap. Christianity (to take one religion) is a worldview. It says much about morality. Atheism says nothing.

    • Otto

      Yes Bob makes moral claims, and yes Bob is an atheist, Bob does not make his moral claims in a foundation of atheism, it would be impossible to do so because atheism does not speak to morality period.

      But when religious people make moral claims their claims are quite often founded on their religion.

    • Sample1

      People, including atheists, are the ones that make moral claims.

      That’s a bingo. Excellent. Agreed.

      then stop making moral claims.

      This does not follow unless you claim that atheists are not people. I’m assuming you do not make that claim. If you do, there are medications available.

      What’s missing here when talking about relative morality is moral (and by extension normative) constructivism. Kant, Street, Rawls, and of course Hume all propose different flavors of moral constructivism. Some apply to meta ethics some do not.

      Normative constructivism is the view that the moral principles we ought to accept are the ones that agents would agree to or endorse were they to engage in a hypothetical or idealized process of rational deliberation. -Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

      Presumably you’d agree that both atheists and theists, at least in principle, can engage in rational deliberation. Good. Now, when people in society do not fit in with what those agents construct in terms of morality what do we do? Well, we usually put those people in jail.

      In other words, there is no logical reason to exclude atheists, people, from making moral claims just because atheism (the concept) is a-moral. Likewise, atheists have no logical reason to exclude theists from making moral claims just because, as you say, religion (the concept) makes no moral claims.

      What we are left with is conversation among people about how to define moral and immoral behavior.

      So let’s get to work.

      Mike, faith-free
      Edit done

  • Almost a chimp

    I don’t know if I’m just petty but I’ve never been comfortable with atheism being described as ‘the lack of belief in gods’. The ‘lack of’ suggests that we are missing some fundamental attribute that believers possess; it’s as if the existence of gods is a given but atheists can’t see what is obvious to everybody else.
    Personally, I define atheism more as the rejection of the very idea of gods.

    Just my two-pence worth.

    • Otto

      I would say it is not an attribute that is missing, it is that a reasonable justification for believing the proposition ‘God(s) exist’ is missing.

    • Greg G.

      the rejection of the very idea of gods.

      That is strong atheism. It shifts a burden of proof to you.

      Defined as the lack of belief in gods but the burden of proof where it belongs – those who imagine a god thingy must demonstrate a way to distinguish their concept from imagination.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      A useful rephrase might be “Disbelief pending convincing evidence.”

  • Phil

    Here is a good paper on morality: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/morality-definition/ What it seems to boil down to is that morality is in the eye of the beholder.