WHO Has the Basis for Morality? No, It’s Not the Christian.

WHO Has the Basis for Morality? No, It’s Not the Christian. October 11, 2018

God allows suffering, but it would be morally wrong for that suffering to be justified in any way except that it benefit the sufferer. The common excuse made for God is that suffering can be for the greater good, but that kind of suffering is exploitative and immoral. That means that suffering is a good thing, and we would be immoral if we tried to stop it.

Said another way, conventional morality is possible only with atheism.

These are the surprising conclusions from the argument in “Atheism and the Basis of Morality” by Stephen Maitzen (2013). I’ve distilled the argument here.

To see how the conclusions are supported, I want to make the argument as transparent as possible, so I’ve added a bit of formality and labeled the steps.

The argument

Here are some axioms (statements taken to be true without proof) to help us start on the same page.

Axiom 1: For simplicity and to avoid disagreement, “ordinary morality” has been distilled down to “we have the moral obligation to prevent easily preventable extreme suffering by a child.” That’s it.

Now, some basic assumptions about God’s properties.

Axiom 2: God

(a) is aware of all human suffering,

(b) knows how to prevent that suffering,

(c) has the ability to prevent the suffering,

(d) can do anything logically possible (indeed, is unlimited in knowledge and power),

(e) knows if suffering is necessary for the well-being of the sufferer, and

(f) won’t do anything morally imperfect.

And here’s the moral problem we need to wrestle with. How we should respond is the focus of the argument.

Axiom 3: There is, right now, a child experiencing terrible suffering.

God knows about the suffering child (Axiom 2a); nevertheless, he’s allowing the suffering to continue. Let’s understand God’s attitude toward that suffering by considering the following supposition.

Supposition 1: God allows the suffering to continue because it will ultimately benefit the child.

If Supposition S1 is false, then it’s not the case that the suffering will ultimately benefit the child—maybe it will benefit others or maybe there’s no reason at all. I will show that S1 must be true.

Axiom 4: A morally perfect being can’t act immorally.

Corollary 4: From Axiom 4, a morally perfect being can’t have the excuse, “My action was immoral, but that’s okay because it was the lesser of two evils.” Said another way, a morally perfect being can’t face a moral dilemma.

Since God never has moral dilemmas (Corollary 4), he never says, “Gee, I hate to see that kid in pain, but it’s for the greater good.”

Therefore, God can’t exploit people (that is, use them for some purpose other than to help them).

Therefore, S1 must be true, and any suffering allowed by God must be for that person’s benefit (like the pain from a vaccination) and not justified because it’s for someone else’s benefit (for the greater good).

Objections

Let’s pause for a moment and consider a couple of objections. The first objection says that exploiting people can’t be a problem because we do it ourselves. An example would be quarantining someone with a contagious illness, where we’re making one innocent person suffer for the benefit of others.

Response: Yes, we do exploit people that way, but that’s only because we’re not omnipotent. God is (Axiom 2b). We have an excuse for exploiting people, but God doesn’t.

Here’s another objection: maybe God could compensate sufferers materially even if the suffering wasn’t required for their benefit. How many years of life in Paradise would it take to overshadow a poor life on earth, no matter how miserable?

Response: No, compensation is not justification. If I punch you but them immediately apologize and give you a million dollars, my action was still morally wrong. You’ve been amply compensated, but that doesn’t justify my action (thinking otherwise is stupid Christian argument #25a.) Remember, the kind of non-exploitative harm we’re talking about is unavoidable suffering for that person’s own benefit, like jabbing a kid with a needle (suffering) to deliver a vaccine (the justifiable good).

Conclusion

From that groundwork, we can reap a few startling conclusions.

Given that there are suffering children (A3), how do we respond? “We have the moral obligation to prevent easily preventable extreme suffering by a child” (A1). But God ensures that any suffering is neither gratuitous nor exploitative but is for that person’s benefit (S1).

Therefore, it’s bad to stop suffering (from S1).

Therefore A1 is false since it contradicts S1.

Therefore, our moral duty to help suffering children (A1) vanishes. In fact, it’s more than that: getting in the way of someone’s suffering is getting in the way of their moral medicine. Mother Teresa’s crazy medieval zealotry actually fits in fairly well with this thinking: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion. The world gains much from their suffering.”

We’ve seen this before. Benjamin Franklin’s lightning rod was criticized for messing with the natural order. If God decided that a building needed to be struck with lightning, who was Franklin to say otherwise (more)?

Seen another way, our moral instincts are backwards: the worse the suffering, the more obvious that it’s for that person’s benefit and not just a trivial bump in the road of life, and we should leave it alone to avoid messing with God’s plan. (One wonders how it could be so easy for us to overturn God’s plan, but that’s a tangent.)

So where does this leave morality? If our most fundamental moral axiom—that we should prevent the suffering of children if easily done—is gone because suffering must be a good thing, what’s left? What sense is a prohibition against lying or theft when an intuitively more fundamental axiom is gone? Can this morality be salvaged despite its gaping hole?

But drop the theistic assumptions, and Axiom A1 is back in force, and ordinary morality works just like everyone intuitively thinks it should. Atheism, not theism, is compatible with morality.

Religion does itself no favors
by declaring itself immune from rational scrutiny.
— Dan Brown

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  • Axiom 1: For simplicity and to avoid disagreement, “ordinary morality” has been distilled down to “we have the moral obligation to prevent easily preventable extreme suffering by a child.” That’s it.

    At this point, huge swathes of Christians in the United States are supporting border detention policies that amount to explicit disagreement with this axiom.

  • Greg G.

    The problem with Karma is that some people are very good yet they suffer a lot in their life. Others live in comfortable luxury but are mean. So they have to postulate reincarnation in order to say that they are working off their bad or good karma. So if you see someone suffering, you can kick them to make them suffer more in order to shorten the length of time they suffer. Kicking or even torturing someone is neither good nor bad because you do not increase their overall suffering while relieving their suffering only extends it in their next incarnation.

    Likewise in Judeo-Christian reasoning, you can only make someone suffer if God allows it. A good God would not allow it if it was bad so suffering must be an objectively good thing.

    Of course that reasoning only works when suffering is considered abstractly. When you experience suffering subjectively, you know that reasoning is bullshit.

    • Ignorant Amos

      As you know, I’ve been in Spain the past two weeks. On Thursday I attended a celebration of the life of Antonio, Tony to his mates, who died the week before. Tony was a 43 year old barman at the camp site where I was staying. He lived with, and provided for, his sister and elderly mother, who is in poor health. Tony was a hard grafter and on the day he died he was sent home with a pain in his abdomen. He was rushed from his home in an ambulance, but died en-route to the hospital. A blood clot was the cause of his death. Everyone was gutted by the news. He was a good spud who I’ve known for about 14 years. What was the point of his death and suffering? And what is the lesson for those left who relied on him?

      Last Monday on the same camp site, just two rows along from where I was staying, an ambulance attended. Turns out a young lad of 18 had some sort of diabetic episode…and died at the scene. What ta fuck is all that about? His father was devastated.

      The whole God nonsense is such mindwankery and the dickheads that buy into such fuckwittery frustrate the living daylights outta me with all the silly excuses of the day.

      • Greg G.

        The whole God nonsense is such mindwankery and the dickheads that buy into such fuckwittery frustrate the living daylights outta me with all the silly excuses of the day.

        I know the feeling. Several years ago, I read an article in the local newspaper about an elderly lady who was still taking care of her son who still in a child-like state and bed-ridden. Her church friends said she often worried about what would happen to him when she died. They went to check on her when she didn’t show up for church and both she and her son were found dead. The church ladies thought it was a wonderful miracle that both of them were taken together, oblivious that the son probably died because he couldn’t even get a drink of water, which was probably what the lady feared the most.

        • Ignorant Amos

          It’s feckin’ ridiculous….some here know my own predicament and history…but I was a non believer from childhood, so that argument only goes to sustain my position.

      • “If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.” –Woody Allen

  • epicurus

    The title photo is creepy, looks like a bloody meat mess laying on a bed in the background.

    • The face was what drew me in, and I don’t want to think about what that mess is.

      • epicurus

        I assume it’s a stock posed photo, not one from a real event, so I wonder what the photographer was thinking.

        • RichardSRussell

          Probably illustrating the deep, soul-searing trauma of housekeeping.

  • Grimlock

    Interesting argument, thanks for sharing.

    I wonder if perhaps a theist might try to avoid the argument by claiming that God doesn’t have moral duties. Including the duty to avoid alleviating suffering. At which point it might not be a perfect being theistic God any more.

    • Greg G.

      At which point it might not be a perfect being theistic God any more.

      Certainly not Plantinga’s “omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being” or Craig’s “maximally great being”.

      • Otto

        Craig would just argue God can do what the fuck he wants and it is by definition ‘good’…so nah.

        • Susan

          … so nah.

          Yep.

          Worst moral theory ever.

          Invoking the “Nazis” as a consequence of not playing along with that theory would be hilarious.

          If it weren’t so fucking tragic.

          =====

          Edit to add and strike.

        • Especially since he himself justifies genocide when God orders it. The problem is simply the Nazis lacked a divine backing apparently.

        • Greg G.

          The problem is simply the Nazis lacked a divine backing apparently.

          They thought they did. Their uniform belt buckles said, “Gott mit uns”. (God with us.)

        • Well yes, I mean according to Craig though.

        • Greg G.

          “I see,” said the blind carpenter as he picked up his hammer and saw.

        • Indeed, who made him prophet?

        • Michael Neville

          It was German soldiers, and only the enlisted ones, who had Gott mit us on their belt buckles. Officers had plain buckles. The SS, the people mainly involved in the Holocaust, had Meine Ehre heißt Treue (my honor is loyalty) on their belt buckles.

        • sandy

          That makes sense. Make the poor bastards who are going to do the real fighting and dying think that God is on their side. A great example of propaganda at it’s best by the Nazis.

        • Ficino

          Even in WW One, the Germans had crosses on their war planes.

    • Some do indeed say this. I’ve been told exactly that at times. My reply is like yours: what then does “God is all-good” mean?

    • Doubting Thomas

      Then if wanting to be “more moral” and using god as the standard, we would also have no moral duties. If a perfect moral being doesn’t try to alleviate suffering, shouldn’t we be considered more moral if we followed suit?

      • Grimlock

        No, because that’d be an undesirable outcome, and is this clearly erroneous. Not sure why, but it’s definitely wrong.

        • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

          /s

          😉

    • Ficino

      I just read this morning in Aquinas that God permits some to torture others, and if God does permit it, it’s for those whom God deems worthy to suffer.

      This cashes out as “if A is suffering, God deems A worthy of suffering.”

      It’s pretty clear that Fr. Brian Davies is right when he says that in Thomism, God has no moral duties toward creatures, as you note.

      I’m not thinking of passages in Aquinas that say that God is NOT omnibenevolent, but there may be some. Aquinas does say that God’s promises cannot prove false, but there is always wiggle room to spin the language of any promise so as to get God off the hook.

      It seems abhorrent to suppose that if a child is tortured gratuitously (I don’t know whether there can ever be justified torture of a child, but let that pass), God deems the child worthy of experiencing the torture, but that seems to follow from the above. There may be some way of spinning this so as to save divine attributes like God’s justice, but it’s pretty counterintuitive. At the least, I’d say all this decisively weakens the persuasive appeal of Thomism and of the religious organization that it serves.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Sorta fits with Aquinas list of godly attributes…

        In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas focused on a shorter list of just eight attributes, namely: simplicity, perfection, goodness, incomprehensibility, omnipresence, immutability, eternity and oneness.

        …the get outta jail free card is “incomprehensibility”…covers all bases…what a cop out.

        • Ficino

          Exactly. Although of course, the Thomist thinks he knows heaps of things about the incomprehensible God with certainty.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yep…the regulars here will tell ya, that’s a gripe I have. YahwehJesus has such mysterious ways…but fuckwit believers proceed to exact those mysterious ways regardless….how ta fuck do they know? It’s incomprehensible after all.

          How do they know the mysterious ways are not Stephen Law’s evil/bad God? They don’t….the ruse is fulfilled…maybe.

        • Otto

          effing the ineffable…

  • Cozmo the Magician

    Either ‘God’ does NOT exist, or ‘God’ is a fucking evil prick.

    • LastManOnEarth

      And/or is ignorant and/or is impotent and/or incompetent.

      Let’s not sell him/her/it/them short.

      • epicurus

        A stumblebum that gods in other universes shake their heads at.

      • carbonUnit

        Sounds like Trump….

        Obligatory lightning quote:
        “The problem isn’t that there are too many fools.
        It’s that lightning isn’t distributed right.” –Mark Twain.

    • Ignorant Amos

      The problem with being a fucking evil prick is that one of Christian God’s attributes is goodness, so a fucking evil prick God is not a Christian God…and since the Christian God, a.k.a. YahwehJesus created evil…it must be not good…well we have a bit of an oxymoronic thing going on. Christian God doesn’t exist…am a 7 on the Dawkins Richter scale on that cunts existence. It’s a logical contradiction.

    • Paul

      “Either ‘God’ does NOT exist, or ‘God’ is a fucking evil prick.”

      1) That’s a false dilemma.
      2) Is there an objective standard to use to determine whether God is an evil prick, or would that just be your personal opinion?

      • Anuj Agarwal

        There is objective assessment based on subjective framework,and the best framework we have can easily determine that biblical god is an evil prick.

        and when you say that your god is source of objective assessment then that’s just your opinion BTW.

  • RichardSRussell

    If Christians really have the 100% direct poop on what’s moral and what isn’t, directly from God’s lips to their ears, how come they can’t agree on what it is? I don’t think we need to go any further than that to expose them for the arrogant delusionals that they are.

    • Verily I say unto you, this man speaks great truth.

    • Ficino

      Exactly. Some right wing Catholics are infuriated that the Church over the last century has come to present capital punishment as either intrinsically wrong or very close thereunto.

  • eric

    Atheism, not theism, is compatible with morality.

    …for religions that hold to Axiom 2. Which is pretty much most flavors of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. This is just a nitpick, but your argument doesn’t really hold for the occasional deist, the billion or so Hindus, the half a billion or so Buddhists, and the unknown (at least by me) number of animists (which I think includes most of Japan’s nominally Shinto population). Since they’re not going to take 2a-f or at least some portion of that set as axioms.

  • RichardSRussell

    Just ran across this factoid that I thot I’d share. It might be of especial interest to the fetus-worshippers: “The best estimate of the number of cells in a typical human body is about 37.2 trillion. About 300 million cells die every minute in our bodies!” But by all means, let’s be really, really focused on that one special one that’s been blessed by Baby Jesus.

  • Triggerman1976

    Little problem there, Bob, you didn’t prove that you have any grounds to 1) complain about suffering or 2) that there’s some justified moral obligation to prevent it.

    You did make a number of false arguments though.

    • Yes, I do complain about suffering. But I’m not entitled to? Explain.

      • Triggerman1976

        Simple: You’re not being consistent with your worldview.

        You believe that you are the end result of a mindless and unguided process of which “suffering” is merely one possible outcome. There is no room or grounds for complaint.

        • You believe that you are the end result of a mindless and unguided process of which “suffering” is merely one possible outcome.

          You do realize that evolution and atheism are two very different things, right? I do accept evolution, but that’s not because of atheism.

          There is no room or grounds for complaint.

          I’ve still seen no argument here. Evolution shaped us so that pain is a thing, and it’s unpleasant. And, yes, I’ll complain about it. You’ve not shown the inconsistency.

        • MR

          I’ve often said that if evolution were somehow overturned, that still tells us nothing about God.

        • Paul

          You’d still have the same worldview and would still interpret the evidence through that same lens. Therefore, you’d still come to the same conclusion about God.

        • Greg G.

          It is not a worldview issue. It’s an evidence-view issue. Until you have valid evidence for a god thingy, you do not have justified belief.

        • MR

          Because it tells us nothing about God. If evolution were overturned, it still tells us nothing about fairies or unicorns. People can make shit up and overturning evolution would tell us nothing about the shit they make up. It’s not unreasonable to ask for evidence. Why do you believe? When did you become a Christian? Why did you become a Christian?

        • Greg G.

          Pain is necessary in a universe as it keeps creatures from injuring themselves. Suffering is a consequence. It doesn’t mean we have to like it.

          It is unnecessary if there is an omnipotent and omnibenevolent being.

        • Joe

          You believe that you are the end result of a mindless and unguided process of which “suffering” is merely one possible outcome. There is no room or grounds for complaint.

          A mindless, unguided boulder rolls down a hill and crushes a Christians foot. From where does their “grounds for complaint” come?

        • Triggerman1976

          Their place as an imager of their Creator.

        • Susan

          You’re not being consistent with your worldview.

          Bob isn’t? Are you serious?

          You are claiming that an omnipotent, omnisicient, omnibenevolent agent plucked reality out of metaphysical nothingness.

          You are claiming that a moral agent exists who is all powerful and all knowing..

          In which case, it is accountable for hundreds of millions of years of suffering.

          Mindless, unguided processes aren’t accountable. They’re amoral.

          You are not being consistent with your “wordview”.

        • Triggerman1976

          See, that’s where you’re wrong. I am perfectly consistent with my worldview because, within it, I can account for things like “obligations” and “suffering” as metaphysical categories. God’s “accountability”, if such a thing could be asserted, ends with his commands upon his creatures. What I noticed in Maitzen’s argumentation, which Bob appropriates, is an ever-expanding frontier of unjustified moral categories.

        • I can account for things like “obligations” and “suffering” as metaphysical categories.

          With anything more than handwaving? Show us the evidence that grounds your thinking.

    • Michael Neville

      If there’s an omni-max god (omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, other omnis for flavor) then it should prevent immorality. Bob gave a definition of immorality which occurs with all too much frequency. So the omni-max god doesn’t exist. QED.

      Show how this is a false argument (you saying so isn’t good enough).

      • Triggerman1976

        Why should God’s nature, which is all-powerful, all-knowing, etc, have such an effect? (you’re just saying so doesn’t make it so)

        • Michael Neville

          Because if your imaginary god is omnibenevolent then he would not want immorality to happen, if he is omniscient then he’d know immorality was happening even before it happened and if he was omnipotent then he could stop immorality from happening.

          Damn, I’d think even a god-soaked Christian should be able to figure that out given enough hints. Obviously you’re less intelligent than I thought you were.

        • Tommy

          Why should it not?

          And a bigger question: Why doesn’t it?

    • Greg G.

      If there is an omnipotence, then all suffering is unnecessary and the adjective “omnibenevolent” would be a lie when describing that omnipotence.

      • Triggerman1976

        You do realize that they’re different things, and that they are encompassed by omniscience in order to deliver a desired outcome, right?

        • Greg G.

          If omniscience knows something that suffering can do that its potency cannot do, then the potency is less than omnipotence. Bringing omniscience into the equation does not help you. If an entity is omnibenevolent and omnipotent, then there is no excuse for suffering anywhere. Either the thingy is not powerful enough to prevent it, or it is not omnibenevolent, or neither, or it doesn’t exist.

          The greater good hypothesis is already accounted for.

        • Tommy

          Do you believe goodness can exist in a universe created by an omnipotent, omniscient, omnimalevolent god?

    • Otto

      Lazy ass apologetic

      • Triggerman1976

        Accepting statements uncritically…that’s what’s “lazyass”.

        • Otto

          You mean a statement like “I am a trained researcher”…yeah I completely agree.

    • Doubting Thomas

      Little problem there, Triggerman, you didn’t prove that you have any grounds to 1) complain about the article or 2) that Bob has some obligation to respond to you.

      You did make a number of dumb statements though.

  • skl

    “Axiom 1: For simplicity and to avoid disagreement, “ordinary
    morality” has been distilled down to “we have the moral obligation to prevent
    easily preventable extreme suffering by a child.” That’s it.
    … But drop the theistic assumptions, and Axiom A1 is back in force, and
    ordinary morality works just like everyone intuitively thinks it should. Atheism,
    not theism, is compatible with morality.”

    The bible believers’ Jesus almost seems to care about children even more than his
    believers. See for example
    “And they were bringing children to him, that
    he might touch them; and the disciples rebuked them.
    But when Jesus saw it he was indignant, and said to them, “Let the
    children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of
    God.” Mark 19:13-14; also Mat 19:14, Luke 18:16.

    Believers then and now know that children still suffer and die. (And they know that everyone else,
    including their Jesus, suffers and dies.)

    But then and now they still believe in their Jesus being god and the ultimate
    moralizer-in-chief. If the seeming contradiction was such a big deal, I guess
    there wouldn’t be any bible believers.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      So you’re saying that religion is inconsistent.

      We knew that already.

      The contradiction may not be a problem for authoritarians and authoritarian followers, but it IS a problem for GOOD people.

    • Damien Priestly

      Jesus says…”Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

      Appropriate — other than reminding everybody of current abuses by Jesus’ representative here on earth, Catholic and otherwise…this makes Jesus sound like the creepy guy he always was (if he existed). Yeah, give the kids to me…because my Dad owns them !!

    • eric

      If the seeming contradiction was such a big deal, I guess there wouldn’t be any bible believers.

      This would be an important point if someone was arguing that the way to convince believers to change their minds was to point out the contradiction.

      But of course, nobody is saying that here. You’re arguing against a straw man.

      It’s not an important point – or really any sort of valid counterargument at all – when someone is arguing that the contradiction renders the theology a poor basis for morality. Which is the point of this topic. Which you seemed to have missed.

      It’s also, incidentally, not any sort of valid counterargument when an atheist is arguing that theological contradictions undermine claims for the existence of God. Any more than the existence of married bachelors is supported by finding people who claim they believe there are married bachelors. This is not the argument or point of this topic, however; I bring it up because you tend to make this exact comment often, and in ‘existence’ type arguments too. You seem to think “well Christians don’t have to problem with these contradictions’ is some sort of universal counter to people pointing out a theological contradiction. When in fact it’s only relevant and valid as a counter-argument against a very narrow set of arguments – a set which, AFAIK, Bob has never actually made.

      • Ignorant Amos

        Which you seemed to have missed.

        Whaaaa? skl? Well I never…skl not get the point…or even miss it? Shocked I am, I tell ya, shocked. //s

      • skl

        “You’re arguing against a straw man.
        It’s not an important point – or really any sort of valid
        counterargument at all – when someone is arguing that the contradiction renders the theology a poor basis for morality. Which is the point of this topic. Which you seemed to have missed.”

        If Christians thought making children suffer and die was moral, was what their god wanted them to do, then you’d have a point.

        • Greg G.

          If Christians thought making children suffer and die was moral, was what their god wanted them to do, then you’d have a point.

          Isn’t that the position espoused by Thomas Aquinas? If someone is suffering, it is because God thinks they deserve it. Aquinas is a favorite of Catholics.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Cause Christians don’t spare the rod….or stop putting their dicks into children orifices for fun.

          Not ungodly apparently….oxygen thieving pieces of human excrement…and those that provide succor too of course.

        • Ficino

          Yes, I just read that very teaching two days ago.

          ” .. Deus non dicitur inclinari voluntates hominum in malum, immittendo malitiam, vel ad malitiam commovendo; sed permittendo et ordinando, ut videlicet qui crudelitatem exercere consentiunt, in illos exerceant quos dignos Deus iudicat.”

          “God is not said to incline the wills of humans to evil by sending in an evil will or by moving them toward evil will, but by permitting and ordaining [i.e. setting up an order of causes], so that it is clear to see that those who consent to carry out cruelty carry it out against those whom God judges as deserving.”

          Aquinas, De Potentia 1.6 ad 6

          Example: when the Hebrews slaughtered all the men, women, children and animals of Jericho by God’s command, God judged each baby, each toddler trying to protect its puppy or kitten, and each puppy and kitten ALL deserving of being slaughtered. I say nothing of the kittens and puppies and bunnies swimming and swimming during the Great Flood until their legs gave out or they were eaten by fish.

        • Lark62

          4 words.

          Children in immigrant detention.

          Or

          Catholic predator protection league

          Or

          Orphanage in Burlington Vermont

          By their fruit shall ye know them.

          Christians don’t give a damn about children, unless they can use them as weapons against gays, minorities and trans people.

          Only with outside pressure do christians correct systemic abuse of children.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Or two words…

          Magdalene Laundries.

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

          Duplessis Orphans.

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

          “The Home”…at Tuam.

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

          We could go on of course…but what’s the point, this is skl we are dealing with…thick as fucking pig shite.

        • Greg G.

          Robert M. Price wrote in his blog post, Saint Peterasty, last month:

          Now let’s ask Dostoyevsky’s advice. We find it in his great novel The Brothers Karamazov. Alyosha, a pious monk, attempts to win his profane brother Ivan back to Mother Church. But no sale. Ivan tells Alyosha that he cannot reconcile God’s ostensible justice with the manifest suffering of innocent children. The moment you offer some sophisticated rationalization for God allowing such atrocities, you are becoming his accomplice-after-the-fact. You are saying, in effect, “It’s okay with me! There’s a good reason for it, even if I can’t say what it is.”

          http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/saint-peterasty/

          http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/zblog/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/pope-cartoon.jpg

        • Ignorant Amos

          Thanks for the link…New Testament cigarettes…WTF?

        • Greg G.

          It was a toss-up whether to link the New Testament Cigarettes or the Rug. My pick was a matter of file size.

        • skl

          4 words.

          Children of imprisoned felons.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…because none of those are Christians. Ya Dime Bar.

        • Lark62

          No. Seeking asylum is not a felony.

          70 years after the end of WWII, people are still being tried for crimes against humanity.

          The people who separated innocent children from parents – then lost them – have committed crimes against humanity. And there is no statute of limitations.

        • skl

          11 words.

          Lark62 allows the separation of children from their parent(s) in prison.

          8 more words.

          And there are millions of such separated children.

          http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/21/sesame-street-reaches-out-to-2-7-million-american-children-with-an-incarcerated-parent/

        • Lark62

          Liar. You are dishonest.

          The children of convicted felons are not imprisoned away from parents. (Sometimes infants are allowed to stay with mothers in prison.)

          And in the case of prisoners, those parents committed crimes and were convicted and sentenced by a court. Family members are encouraged to care for the children.

          People fleeing oppression and seeking asylum are not criminals.

        • skl

          Bye.

        • Lark62

          The truth hurts.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Welcome to the club.

          If the clown blocks enough of us there will be a moment of celebration. He will have created his own echo chamber and won’t be able to see us all ripping the pish outta the verbal diarrhea he continually spews.

        • Susan

          Bye.

          *yawn*

        • Otto

          If only…

        • eric

          Yep. According to US law (specifically, 8 US code #1158), any alien who is physically in the US may apply for asylum within the first year of entry. They do not become an illegal alien or a lawbreaker until their petition is denied and then they stay anyway. Punishing asylum-seekers, throwing them in jail, separating family members, it’s IMO the analog of the US’ internment of Japanese Americans in WWII; not legal when it was started, though possibly made legal at some point afterwards by conservative legal courts.

        • eric

          “Pain and suffering have come into your life, but remember pain, sorrow, suffering are but the kiss of Jesus – a sign that you have come so close to Him that He can kiss you.” – Mother Teresa

          “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of
          Christ’s sufferings” 1 Peter 4:12

          “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”. Luke 14:27

          ““Therefore the elect shall go forth…to see the torments of the impious, seeing which they will not be grieved, but will be satiated with joy at the sight of the unutterable calamity of the impious.” Peter Lombard

          “In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned. . .So that they may be urged the more to praise God. . .The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens. . .to the damned.” Thomas Aquinas.

        • skl

          If your Mother Teresa, Peter, Thomas Aquinas, etc. thought their
          making children suffer and die was moral, thought that was what their god wanted them to do to children, then you’d have a point.

        • Greg G.

          One woman under Mother Teresa’s care asked her to tell Jesus to stop kissing her.

          ETA to add a missing word a half hour after posting.

        • ildi

          But why take the lives of innocent children? The terrible totality of the destruction was undoubtedly related to the prohibition of assimilation to pagan nations on Israel’s part. In commanding complete destruction of the Canaanites, the Lord says, “You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons, or taking their daughters for your sons, for they would turn away your sons from following me, to serve other gods” (Deut 7.3-4). This command is part and parcel of the whole fabric of complex Jewish ritual law distinguishing clean and unclean practices. To the contemporary Western mind many of the regulations in Old Testament law seem absolutely bizarre and pointless: not to mix linen with wool, not to use the same vessels for meat and for milk products, etc. The overriding thrust of these regulations is to prohibit various kinds of mixing. Clear lines of distinction are being drawn: this and not that. These serve as daily, tangible reminders that Israel is a special people set apart for God Himself.

          By setting such strong, harsh dichotomies God taught Israel that any assimilation to pagan idolatry is intolerable. It was His way of preserving Israel’s spiritual health and posterity. God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel. The killing of the Canaanite children not only served to prevent assimilation to Canaanite identity but also served as a shattering, tangible illustration of Israel’s being set exclusively apart for God.

          Moreover, if we believe, as I do, that God’s grace is extended to those who die in infancy or as small children, the death of these children was actually their salvation. We are so wedded to an earthly, naturalistic perspective that we forget that those who die are happy to quit this earth for heaven’s incomparable joy. Therefore, God does these children no wrong in taking their lives.

          https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P10/slaughter-of-the-canaanites

        • skl

          If your Jews and Christians were busy torturing and killing their children (or anyone else’s children) because they thought that was moral, thought that was what their god wanted them to do to children, then maybe you’d have a point.
          (But then, I don’t even see the maybe.)

        • ildi

          I don’t own any Jews or Christians.

          (I know big words are hard. WLC says God ordering the killing of even the innocent babies was moral, though probably stressful for the soldiers, because it was important to keep the bloodlines pure and besides the babies can go to heaven more quickly. He is one of your more well-known Christians, btw.)

        • skl

          “I don’t own any Jews or Christians.”

          I don’t own any Jews or Christians, either.
          I don’t know why you would. Or even how you could.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Moron.

        • ildi

          So you agree that WLC is saying the soldiers being ordered by God to kill innocent babies is moral.

        • skl

          WLC seems to be saying that, when you have a rat problem, the
          “moral” thing to do is to kill all the rats, including the baby rats.

          I’m not at all familiar with WLC’s other writings but I assume he elsewhere says his god doesn’t generally target other peoples as rodents.

        • WLC needs a lesson in omnipotence.

          Ordinary people might need to use genocide when another tribe is a bad influence. God can use magic.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Yeah…that was Hitlers attitude too…you really are a piece of shite.

        • Greg G.

          WLC seems to be saying that, when you have a rat problem, the
          “moral” thing to do is to kill all the rats, including the baby rats.

          Not rats, people. WLC expresses more sympathy for the poor soldiers who are required to do the slaughtering than for the slaughtered victims. But it’s OK because he has several advanced degrees and uses polysyllabic words to express his sentiments.

        • But it’s OK because [WLC] has several advanced degrees and uses polysyllabic words to express his sentiments sediments.

          FTFY

        • ildi

          WLC is giving an example of when it’s moral to kill children, thus proving the point you seem desperate to deny. (Gross of you to compare genocide to a rat problem-I can see why you’re a big fan of Trump, though.)

        • Ignorant Amos

          You’re a fucking moron.

          “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21). How he takes away is his call. He never wrongs anybody.

          According to the woo-woo merchants, when a life ends, it’s YahwehJesus work.

          The Bible says, “Thou shalt not murder,” yet God says to Joshua, “Go in and clean house, and don’t leave anything breathing! Don’t leave a donkey, child, woman, old man or old woman breathing. Wipe out Jericho.”

          There is multiple examples of such instructions…and those of YahwehJesus offing children him selves. Cutting out the middleman. Since religious fuckwits believe YahwehJesus can’t be immoral. So never mind what those people thought YahwehJesus wanted them to do to children, the piece of shite did it himself according to the stupid book and what cretins believe.

          Christians believe that a person exists at the point of conception…most pregnancies never go to term…as the Lord gave, and the Lord taken away…by their own religious conviction, YahwehJesus murders children in the billions.

          By the rivers of Babylon….ya fuckin’ Dime Bar.

          **Note to readers…skl has me blocked…please note that my replying to his fuckwittery…as is the case with the others he has blocked…is to highlight how much of a fuckwit he is once he starts spewing his faux atheist Devil’s Advocate mindwankery. Not to achieve any rationality with the eejit**

  • Doubting Thomas

    WHO Has the Basis for Morality? No, It’s Not the Christian.

    Given the title, I thought you were questioning whether the World Health Organization had a basis for morality, and I thought “Well, I’d go with the WHO over Christianity any day for morality.” I misread, but my conclusion still stands.

    • Greg G.

      I had the same thought when I read it.

    • Whoops.

      You can’t reliably put HTML tags into titles, so I had to compromise.

      • Grimlock

        It’s xkcd time!

        https://xkcd.com/327/

      • Doubting Thomas

        That’s ok. The WHO doesn’t condemn people for one single mistake. Christianity, on the other hand….

  • Phil Rimmer

    When I decided to declare for atheism, nearly two decades ago after a put-off technical agnosticism since age seven, it was because I wanted to do morality better. It needed to be built from the ground up and it needed to enhance my sense of integrity. It needed to be my day job. Morality needed to be lived to be such. Obedience could never be moral.

    As it happened the UK Quakers thought this also. They, long ago, ditched the dogma and replaced it with personal moral authorship and integrity.

  • epeeist

    Total aside, my wife is in the final of the women’s team sabre – http://www.engarde-service.com/app.php?id=357m24

    • Greg G.

      Great! Now I have a rooting interest.

      • epeeist

        Silver, which is pretty good against the Italians. Some members of her team learnt the bitter lesson that you might get a second hit with the same move against an Italian fencer, but you won’t get a third with it.

    • Congrats!

  • Ficino

    Yesterday I reread the story of Jericho. How abhorrent the whole thing is. In the end, all the men, women, children and animals were slaughtered by the Hebrews except for Rahab and her household.

    It all starts with the Hebrews’ being given the command to take over Palestine and exterminate thousands. It’s even more hegemonistic than the mythical picture of Rome’s world conquest sketched out in the Aeneid.

    I can imagine some trying to allegorize the story of the extermination of Jericho. But of what ethical goods would it be an allegory?

    Given enough lawyerly skill, arguments can always be made that the system might not be false. I do not buy any claims that the foundation of the system’s truth can be demonstrated with certainty by the light of natural reason, as Vatican I asserted.

  • Greg G.

    Lemme drop this here:

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/10/6-ways-religion-bad-good/
    Here are 6 ways religion does more bad than good
    Valerie Tarico, AlterNet – COMMENTARY
    14 Oct 2018 at 10:27 ET

  • Paul

    “WHO Has the Basis for Morality? No, It’s Not the Christian.”

    But since Bob subscribes to moral relativism, that statement is only relative to him. He can’t logically apply it to everyone.

    • You say that as if there’s an obvious alternative.

      I make an argument the way anyone would: I state my case and invite others to comment, support, point out errors, and so on.

      Is there another way? If you’re saying that morals are objectively true, give us some examples. I’ve never seen an example of this mythical “objective morality,” but perhaps you’ll be the first one.

      • Paul

        I’m just wondering why you choose the logically bankrupt notion of moral relativism.

        • And I’m wondering why you’re avoiding my challenge to demonstrate that objective morality actually exists. Give me examples.

        • Paul

          It was nothing more than a deflection – a red herring. You want to claim moral relativism and then claim Christian don’t have a basis for morality. Explain yourself.

          Yes, we get that you “see no evidence” for objective morality. That’s why you can’t go with that. But why do you choose to go with the logically bankrupt moral relativism. Seems to me you should be looking at another alternative.

        • What hasn’t been explained? My position is the following: I see no evidence for objective moral truth, and I invite anyone who feels that it exists to show it to me.

          Further, I notice that there’s no need to invent objective morality to explain anything. But you say it’s logically bankrupt, so apparently you know of things in our world that can’t be explained in any other way than that objective moral truth exists (and that we can reliably access it).

          I’m all ears.

        • Paul

          Your position is moral relativism, as evidenced from your current article:

          “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?”

          If you’re a moral relativist, it’s irrational for you to do say that someone is wrong. If there is no objective standard, how would you know that something is wrong? You might have read this article from Greg Koukl, whom you’re familiar with:

          http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo1/koukl.php

          Again, why go with a logically bankrupt idea like moral relativism? And you’re answer should not be because you “see no evidence” for moral objectivity. You already said that. That’s not a reason to go with moral relativity.

        • Joe

          If you’re a moral relativist, it’s irrational for you to do say that someone is wrong.

          Why?

          Again, why go with a logically bankrupt idea like moral relativism?

          Because it appears to be true, so we have no choice but to “go with it” and make the best deal we can.

        • Greg G.

          If you’re a moral relativist, it’s irrational for you to do say that someone is wrong.

          I think you are confusing moral relativism with subjective morality. If morality is source from within, then the person is the judge of what is right and wrong.

        • Greg G.

          I went to Koukl’s page. I stopped reading at #2 because he doesn’t understand the Problem of Evil. It is Christians who claim that evil exists, that God is all good, that God is omnipotent, and that God hates evil. The Problem of Evil just shows that Christian claims are incoherent.

        • Agreed–Koukl doesn’t understand the Problem of Evil.

          His stock response now is: if Mr. Atheist sees evil, then that must be an objective morality that he’s appealing to; an objective morality can’t exist except with a God; therefore, the atheist admits that God exists. Checkmate, atheists!

          He says that it’s not the Christian who has a Problem of Evil but the atheist. But in saying this, he’s revealing that he has no clue what the Problem of Evil actually is.

          Yet again, Christians force me to puzzle over whether they’re stupid or liars. Why do they do that to me?

        • Pofarmer

          They know they’re arguing FOR stupid liars, that’s why.

        • Otto

          >>>”Your position is moral relativism”

          So is yours, you just either don’t know it or you won’t admit it. Your choice of religion is relative, therefore so are your morals that you ascribe to the particular religion you follow.

        • Pofarmer

          ouch.

        • Your position is moral relativism

          Yes, though we need to be careful about how that’s defined. I’ve seen some definitions that I reject. I prefer “I don’t accept objective morality.”

          If you’re a moral relativist, it’s irrational for you to do say that someone is wrong.

          Why? I’ll happily say that you’re wrong when we disagree. But note that I’m claiming no objective grounding. I’m stating the obvious, but when I say, “You’re wrong,” I’m saying that you’re wrong from my perspective.

          If there is no objective standard, how would you know that something is wrong?

          What’s objectivity got to do with it? Look up “morality” in the dictionary and show me that objective anything is in the definition.

          You might have read this article from Greg Koukl, whom you’re familiar with:
          http://www.salvomag.com/new

          I read rule #1 (“Relativists Can’t Accuse Others of Wrong-Doing”), threw up in my mouth, and then closed the page. Does it get any better?

          Again, why go with a logically bankrupt idea like moral relativism?

          How many times are we going to do this? If it’s logically bankrupt, then show me. It looks fine to me, and you’ve done zilch to change my mind.

          Hey, how about you respond to my request that you show me examples of objective morality? Show me that it exists and that humans can reliably access it.

          And you’re answer should not be because you “see no evidence” for moral objectivity.

          Wrong. That morals are objective and reliably accessible is a remarkable claim. Maybe you’re right, but the null hypothesis is that morals are not objective.

          I’ll take the null hypothesis until you do the heavy lifting and show me something better.

        • Paul

          “I’m saying that you’re wrong from my perspective.”

          Yes, it is from your perspective. And your perspective is moral relativism. Trying to argue from a position of moral relativism is pointless. Do you not see that?

          “What’s objectivity got to do with it?”

          I could just respond with “What’s relativity got to do with it? Look up morality in the dictionary…” but that would be pointless. My purpose was to get you tell me how you determine right from wrong.

          More from Greg Koukl since you didn’t bother reading past the first sentence:

          “Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behavior of others, because relativism ultimately denies that there is such a thing as
          wrong- doing. In other words, if you believe that morality is a matter of personal definition, then you can’t ever again judge the actions of others.”

          Yes, Greg Koukl’s article does get better. He demonstrates clearly the problems of moral relativism.

          ” Wrong.” – in response to my statement “”And you’re answer should not be because you “see no evidence” for moral objectivity.”

          What I’m trying to get you to do is why you go with moral relativity. If it’s simply because you “see no evidence” for moral objectivity, then it’s not a good reason. I want to what your reasons are for choosing moral relativity, not why you reject moral objectivity.

          “How many times are we going to do this? If it’s logically bankrupt, then show me.”

          I tried to, but you only read one sentence of Greg Koukl’s article. Trying reading and understanding it. Not interested in Koukl’s article? Try a book titled “A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist”

          “That morals are objective and reliably accessible is a remarkable claim.”

          From your worldview perspective, it probably is.

          “I’ll take the null hypothesis until you do the heavy lifting and show me something better.”

          It seems you’re not willing to do some heavy lifting by trying to understand your own position of moral relativism.

        • Trying to argue from a position of moral relativism is pointless. Do you not see that?

          Nope. I’m asking for you to defend objective morality. Do you not see that?

          I could just respond with “What’s relativity got to do with it? Look up morality in the dictionary…” but that would be pointless.

          Nope. I’d look up morality in the dictionary and find that there’s no reference to objective anything.

          You don’t get to change what words mean.

          My purpose was to get you tell me how you determine right from wrong.

          I consult my conscience (moral programming given by evolution) + past experience. Why do you ask? You do it some other way?

          “Relativism makes it impossible to criticize the behavior of others, because relativism ultimately denies that there is such a thing as
          wrong- doing.

          Laughably wrong. Pathetically wrong.

          I don’t just make up stuff. I don’t throw darts at possibilities on a dart board. I conclude what is right or wrong and then, when I compare it with other humans, I find that we’re pretty similar. Hurting people = bad; helping people = good; and so on. Wow—it’s like we’re the same species or something. Weird.

          What Koukl may be ineptly trying to say is that if you reject objective morality, then you can’t say that anything is objectively right/wrong. And there, I agree. But I’m not trying to say that anything is objectively right/wrong.

          Yes, Greg Koukl’s article does get better. He demonstrates clearly the problems of moral relativism.

          He just assumes objective morality and blunders ahead. He needs to start with a defense of the claim of objective morality so robust that we actually agree. Then he can begin his ill-informed diatribe against atheists. I’d ask if you see the problem, but I think I can answer that myself.

          What I’m trying to get you to do is why you go with moral relativity.

          And since you’re the one making the remarkable claim, I’m trying to get you to defend it. What evidence can you offer that objective morality exists (you should define it first) and that we humans can reliably access it?

          If it’s simply because you “see no evidence” for moral objectivity, then it’s not a good reason.

          Nope. The naturalistic explanation is sufficient, so objective morality is an unnecessary hypothesis. Let’s use Occam’s Razor to cut it away.

          But perhaps you think that there are things that we can’t explain with the hypothesis that morality is all natural? OK, go ahead.

          I tried to, but you only read one sentence of Greg Koukl’s article.

          Maybe now you see how hopelessly flawed it is. You don’t get to just assume morality is objective!

          It seems you’re not willing to do some heavy lifting by trying to understand your own position of moral relativism.

          And I’m sensing that our conversation is trundling to a close. You’re making the remarkable claim, and yet you’re unable and unwilling to defend it. Until we’re past that obstacle, what is there to talk about?

        • Paul

          Me: “Trying to argue from a position of moral relativism is pointless. Do you not see that?”

          Bob: “Nope. I’m asking for you to defend objective morality. Do you not see that?”

          Here’s why it’s pointless: It’s self-refuting.

          Yes, I know you’re asking me to defend objective morality. I do see that. But you made the claim that morality is relative. You need to defend that position. It’s not up to me to disprove it or prove some other position.

          “I conclude what is right or wrong and then, when I compare it with other humans, I find that we’re pretty similar. Hurting people = bad; helping people = good; and so on.”

          And you would say this would be from your perspective, correct? That’s it’s just your personal opinion?

          But you said “WHO Has the Basis for Morality? No, It’s Not the Christian.” as if it were a matter of fact. Next time write an article titled: “WHO Has the Basis for Morality? Well, I can’t really say for sure but it’s my personal opinion (not a matter of fact) that it’s not the Christian.”

          “Maybe now you see how hopelessly flawed it is. You don’t get to just assume morality is objective!” in response to “I tried to, but you only read one sentence of Greg Koukl’s article.”

          Huh? Greg Koukl’s article didn’t assume morality is objective. It was a critique of moral relativity. It critiques it on its own merits and assumes nothing.

          You make the claim that morality is relative, but you can’t see how irrational it is.

        • Here’s why it’s pointless: It’s self-refuting.
          Yes, I know you’re asking me to defend objective morality. I do see that. But you made the claim that morality is relative. You need to defend that position.

          Let me be clear about my position: I’m saying that I have no evidence for the remarkable claim of objective morality. You do? Great–give it to me. Do I gotta beg? Is defending the Christian position a chore for you? What’s the problem here? You’re the one making the remarkable claim; make a case.

          I’m amazed and baffled at this new fad of the Christian trying to backpedal on the defense of his argument. I thought I was giving you the opportunity you always seek, to have an atheist listen to your position. I can’t embrace Christianity if you’re so shy or timid or cowardly or whatever to actually make a case.

          And you would say this would be from your perspective, correct? That’s it’s just your persona l opinion?

          Obviously.

          Next time write an article titled: “WHO Has the Basis for Morality? Well, I can’t really say for sure but it’s my personal opinion (not a matter of fact) that it’s not the Christian.”

          I could add all relevant caveats to every sentence I write, but that would be stupid. If issues come up (willful or innocent), we can address them.

          Huh? Greg Koukl’s article didn’t assume morality is objective.

          Wrong. Very, very wrong. In Koukl’s first sentence, he says, “relativism ultimately denies that there is such a thing as wrong- doing.” What does “ultimately” mean? It’s an appeal to objective morality. He’s saying that someone who doesn’t accept objective morality can’t pretend to make an objective moral claim. Uh, yeah (but of course, they’re happy to make the regular kind of moral claim).

          Another sentence: “After all, what sense can be made of the judgment “apartheid is wrong” when spoken by someone who doesn’t believe in right and wrong?” Obviously, I do believe in right and wrong. What he’s doing is slipping in an invisible objective in front of “right and wrong”; otherwise, his sentence makes no sense.

          And then: “Certainly not human rights, for there are no such things as rights.” No such thing as objective right, yes, but I’m happy to accept the dictionary’s definition of rights.

          And we’re not even done with the first frikkin’ paragraph. Now do you understand why Koukl’s response to this question doesn’t even get out of the gate? To make it worse, Koukl is probably one of the clearer fundamentalists on the topic of morality.

        • Paul

          “I’d look up morality in the dictionary and find that there’s no reference to objective anything.”

          You should look up morality in the dictionary. You won’t find a reference to relativity there.

        • Greg G.

          You should look up morality in the dictionary. You won’t find a reference to relativity there.

          I did. It specifies “relative” or “subjective” morality, not “objective”.

          mo·ral·i·ty
          /məˈralədē/
          noun
          principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
          synonyms: ethics, rights and wrongs, ethicality
          a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.

        • MR

          Giggle. He’s not the sharpest cheddar on the cracker, now is he? One should always test one’s own advice before giving it to others.

        • You invite an experiment: share with us the definition of “morality.” Show us how “objective morality” is what it’s talking about. I think you’ll lose.

          You have an adorable, infantile approach to morality. “But golly, if there is no objective morality, then how do we know stuff for certain??” Uh, yeah, little Timmy, that’s the problem–we don’t. We must do our best knowing that moral statements are opinions. (Unless Paul can give us examples of objectively true moral claims, show that they must be objectively true, and show that these truths are reliably accessible by ordinary humans.)

        • Greg G.

          Is it objectively wrong to throw rocks at someone who picks up sticks on the sabbath? Was it objectively wrong to do that before the year 1 BC? Was it objectively wrong to do that before Moses?

          Justify your answers. This should be very easy if there is objective morality. The last two answers should be “Ditto.”

        • Susan

          why go with a logically bankrupt idea like moral relativism?

          Where does Bob do that? It seems to me you’re using terms that you haven’t defined in order to build a strawman. It’s a phrase used ad nauseum by apologists who don’t bother to research the various definitions, but who instead want to pretend that without Yahwehjesus, moral positions are willy nilly.

          Bob wrote a very clear article showing that this is not the case.

          More importantly, you (and your fellow apologists) never provide a logical connection between Yahwehjesus and morality.

          Are you going to do that now or just keep attacking a strawman?

          you’reyour answer should not be because you “see no evidence”

          Do you still beat your wife?

          You already said that.

          Yes, he has. He sees no evidence and you’ve provided none.

          Got evidence?

        • Pofarmer

          Got evidence?

          Best guess? No……….

        • Paul

          “Where does Bob do that?”

          As I stated: in his current article.
          “Your position is moral relativism, as evidenced from your current article”

          “It seems to me you’re using terms that you haven’t defined in order to build a strawman.”

          No, I’m using Bob’s terms.

          “He sees no evidence and you’ve provided none. Got evidence?”

          Trying to shift the burden of proof? I’m trying to get him to support his position of moral relativism.

        • Susan

          No, I’m using Bob’s terms.

          No, you’re ignoring Bob’s entire argument and calling it “moral relativism” without defining your terms. Bob never used the term you’ve chosen.

          Trying to shift the burden of proof?

          Don’t be silly. All Bob has said is that he sees no evidence of objective morality. If you are claiming that it exists, you can straighten him out right now by providing some.

          Instead, you strawman his argument by ascribing terms to it for which you’ve provided no definition.

          I’m trying to get him to support his position of moral relativism.

          Which one are you claiming is his position?

          Descriptive moral relativism, meta-ethical moral relativism or normative moral relativism?

          Please be specific.

          Not accepting that “objective moral values exist” does not mean one is defending all three.

          Nor any of them, necessarily.

          One can accept descriptive moral relativism without subscribing to the other two, for instance.

          But I see no evidence that you’ve bothered to research the term, just that you are using a standard canard, rather than engage in the subject of morality (which Bob put some work into).

          I notice you have provided no evidence of “objective morality”, no matter how many times you’ve been asked.

          Have made no effort to define your terms, no matter how many times you’ve been asked.

          And I asked you to show a connection between Yahwehjesus and morality and you haven’t.

          Do you have anything but mind-numbing apologetic goo?

          We’ve heard this one a thousand times.

          It wasn’t impressive the first time.

          Trying to shift the burden of proof?

          No, I’m not you.

          Do you have evidence for “objective morality” or not?

          Can you show that Yahwehjesus is necessary and/or sufficient for morality or not?

        • Paul

          “Bob never used the term you’ve chosen.”

          Yes, he did. Go read his article: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2018/10/a-distillation-of-crazy-2/

          “Which one are you claiming is his position?”

          The same one that Bob claimed is his position.

          Bob made the claim that morality is relative. He needs to make the case that it is. It’s not up to me to show that it isn’t. That’s shifting the burden of proof.

        • Susan

          Yes, he did. Go read his article.

          Ah, now I see. That’s why I couldn’t find it in this article. OK.

          The same one that Bob claimed is his position.

          He made it very clear. He defined it immediately and clearly.

          “Morality is sourced inside people, not outside.”

          Bob made the claim that morality is relative.

          Bob stated that his position is that morality is sourced inside people, not outside. There is evidence for the first, not for the second.

          Instead you pounced on the phrase “moral relativism” and ignored his definition. I wouldn’t have recommended Bob use that phrase (as it is so vulnerable to equivocation, and as it addresses a very broad and complicated set of categories in moral philosophy.)

          As he explained what he meant by it, then address his meaning.

          There is nothing illogical about Bob’s statement. Or his position. He certainly has the evidence on his side. All moral claims and positions appear to come from natural beings.

          Now, your turn.

          What position do you hold and why is it logical at all, let alone, more logical?

          What evidence do you have to support it?

        • MR

          Not to mention that we fall into the trap of referring to “morality” as if it’s a thing in and of itself when it’s really nothing more than a label to describe a complex interplay of actions, intent, consequences, and our emotional reactions and intellectual rationalizations of those things, and the conclusions and judgments we reach about them. Morality doesn’t exist in any concrete sense, yet we tend to talk about it as if it does.

        • Susan

          Morality doesn’t exist in any concrete sense, yet we tend to talk about it as if it does.

          I agree. That causes a lot of problems.

        • You are making the remarkable claim; you have the burden of proof. You said that moral relativism is bankrupt; defend that.

          All I’m saying is that I’ve seen absolutely zero evidence that objective morality exists and is reliably accessible, but that I’m willing to listen to arguments. How much more reasonable can I be?

          Christians dance away from defending their arguments so often that they make it clear that the burden of proof is, for them, a burden. It probably makes baby Jesus cry.

        • Ignorant Amos

          Define what you think is moral relativism and why you think it is logically bankrupt?

  • Brian Curtis

    A very popular defense from apologists is that “God doesn’t have to satisfy your notions of goodness,” aka God Must Not Be Tested aka Mysterious Ways.

    But that gives them a new problem: If God isn’t “good” in human terms, why should we worship him? Taking out the moral aspect leaves them with nothing but “because he’s so powerful, so you’d better bow down,” which is simply terrorism.

    • If God isn’t “good” in human terms

      Santa needs to give them a dictionary for Christmas.

  • Pofarmer

    So I found some cool stuff here https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/topic/the-most-unknown

    This is an article about primate studies and what they can tell us about human behavior. The takeaway is, yes, we’re all very, very related.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/wj9ay5/what-monkeys-and-dognition-can-teach-us-about-the-human-brain

    What Monkeys and ‘Dognition’ Can Teach Us About the Human Brain

    Over her years of conducting versions of monkey business scenarios, Santos has discovered that many primates share a lot of basic financial impulses with humans. They suss out which vendors offer better deals, and recognize bargain situations. They prefer to gamble on a potential profit rather than a potential loss. They are sensitive to fairness.

  • Pofarmer

    Our Experience of Reality Is a Bunch of Hallucinations We Collectively Agree On

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/8xjbn3/consciousness-is-just-a-bunch-of-hallucinations-we-collectively-agree-on

    But he didn’t think it was possible to specifically study the core
    idea of consciousness until 2001, when he flew across the pond to the
    Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California to work with Gerald
    Edelman, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist who argued that the mind and
    consciousness were purely biological. Explained in his book Neural Darwinism,
    Edelman’s theory is focused on how genetics and the environment
    influence the way neurons in the brain interact and reproduce to create
    consciousness.

    “Here was the first time people were not only studying consciousness but studying the brain [in that context],” Seth said.