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July 12, 2011

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>> help me understand what a moral value is

they dont objectively exist.

>> Did the big bang really spew forth “love your enemy?”

altruism and peace making skills have been observed to be a sexual display in chimps too. alpha males don't always get the girls.

>> What makes your moral standard more than a subjective opinion or personal preference?

It's not subjective in the sense that, for all humans, poop tastes bad and meat tastes good. If we all didn't have an innate sense of reciprocity, it would be very difficult to conduct transactions, for example. It's in the brains interest to build a response system that exemplifies this preference. The system isn't perfect though, and it does breakdown - e.g. in the case of sexual fetishes. e.g. Two Girls One Cup. Or, in the case of the Monty Hall Problem - wherein the brain makes mistakes in discerning value.

>> What makes it truly binding or obligatory? Why can’t I just ignore it?

Why can't you ignore a splinter in your foot when you're jogging? These signals are present to encourage us to fulfill our evolutionary goals.

Now, none of this knowledge, in my opinion, can be parlayed into developing a moral code that we all ought to follow. (The new atheists, very annoyingly, believe that it can)

Rather, it merely describes why jiminy cricket morality exists.

LHRTONY,

Thank you. I know you won't read further.

But for the rest of us:

LHRTONY just proved that atheism has a rather silly, even ridiculous way of thinking about serioius moral concerns within all of our felt realities.

Hence its failure to taste "real".

Oddly, he cannot prove that his account here is in fact true.

In fact, he can't even come close.

(Atheism) has a litany of Gaps in Knowledge in its ability to explain Morality and many other pieces of the world we all experience and taste.


Everyone who is honest admits this (Gaps exist) about their own view on this issue (Atheism vs. Theism etc) and then they also comment on this reality about the "other side". You (LHRTONY etc) however, do not say this. You offer that one is not provable, and imply that the other is. Which is nonsense. Pure Naturalism (atheism) has too many Gaps for anyone who is honest to think it is "proved".

And, worse, you will use the SAME lines of defense as the God-Exists crowd.

This has nothing to do with the impossibility of proving a universal negative, but with the huge Gaps in Pure Naturalism's ability to explain so much of the real world.

Pure Naturalism (Atheism) is void of the ability to explain a litany of things we find in the real world.

1) Dark Matter.
2) The Origin of Everything.
3) The existence of Something rather than Nothing.
4) Spontaneous Biogenesis (actual; not clumps of dead, non reproducing amino acids).
5) A non-infinite or non-eternal universe in the face of the hard fist of Entropy -- given the failure of an "expanding and contracting" universe to account for such.


And, worse, Biology and Physics are only the beginning. All the "stuff" that makes us Human are, within the closed system of Atheism, Nonsense, ultimately. All things start, and end, in the Blind, the Indifferent. Love that is of the Eternally-Sacrificed-Self sort, wherein Christ tells us that the Self who Dies is King, is juxtaposed to Naturalism's Love which is at bottom a tool in the moment to foster the perpetuation of the Self; the Self who Survives is King. Love lives to promote the Self. Herein love is not love. In fact, herein love is something very dark. Even cruel. And worse yet, all Moral Statements are, within Atheism, accounted for on the same playing field as an itch to scratch, or vomiting, or the urge to eat, or the urge to rape. "Psychic Phosphorescence" as CS Lewis calls it.


The Atheist will tell us the SAME line that the Christian or Theist or ID crowd will tell us: "We can't explain it YET." The Atheist ought to be asked, "What CAN'T Naturalism explain" and he will answer the SAME as the Theist crowd answers, "This world view can and will answer all things ...EVENTUALLY."

Why does he believe in Naturalism's god of Atheism in-spite of such colossal Gaps?

One wonders.


Evidence does not matter in the sense that if the evidence points in the wrong direction, it is simply because we have not un-earthed, YET, a full enough data set to get the "real" answer. The Atheist will believe even though his view cannot account for all that we see. And, the Atheist will believe even if the evidence points away from him. "Just give it time and it will eventually come to light" is the SAME line of logic we hear from both the Pure Naturalist and the God-Exists crowd.

And, comically, each will say that his Gaps fall into the category of things we do not know "YET" and therefore his Gaps will not be seen as a reason for him to disbelieve his overall view.

In his next breath thte Pure Naturalist will charge the Theist crowd with, first, Gaps, and, secondly, Gaps that ought to make the Theist proponent disbelieve his view. "Gaps exist, therefore you should jeteson your view". All the while remaining silent about the Gaps in his own view of things (like you in your above post)

We should not be surprised at this two-facedness, as such Intellectual Duplicity is not a Moral Fault inside of the amoral universe of the Atheist, in which the Toughest Survive. "Veracity" and "Dishonesty" all have the same Ultimate Origin, the same Ultimate Destiny, and thus the same Ultimate Worth inside of the Atheist's reality, and thus his "hypocrisy" in this arena of Gaps is not out of synch with his worldview.


Why does the Pure Naturalist believe in the face of such incredibly large Gaps? Especially when these are not small Gaps, but are on topics which by default utterly negate Pure Naturalism's view if they turn out to be other than what is "assumed".


Is there ANY-thing or ANY Gap the Pure Naturalist will refuse to attribute to his god of Atheism even though the Gaps cry against that god's very existence? Of course not.


The reason he and the ID crowd and the Theist crowd and the God-Is crowd will not do so is based in the "Why" and the "How" both of our Knowing and of our Believing. The Intellectual and the Existential and the Spiritual all weigh in here; but that is a discussion for another topic entirely.


I would urge the Atheist to dive into the simple statement of, "God is love" and follow it out to the Nth degree as, inside of that nuance of "Ultimate Reality Is-Love" all things Human come to light. As CS Lewis says, something like, "Christ is like the sun, I do not see Him, but by Him I see all things."

Moral Grounding and Atheism's empty void where love ought to be is often addressed on this blog. It gets repetitive.

LHRTONY is being honest about the void of all things moral within atheism. However, the New Atheist is forever attempting to "smuggle in through the back door" his own little oughts.

Objective Moral Ought is missing within Atheism. However, there is something much darker than merely this "something missing". We find, when we look closer, Atheism embracing a sort of cruel self-focused lens which it holds up as its version of "love".

What the Atheist will refer to as "love" is in fact wholly void of love.

As in:

Love that is of the Eternally-Sacrificed-Self sort, wherein Christ tells us that the Self who Dies is King, is juxtaposed to Naturalism's Love which is at bottom a tool in the moment to foster the perpetuation of the Self; the Self who Survives is King.

Love lives to promote the Self. Herein love is not love. In fact, herein love is something very dark. Even cruel.

To paraphrase C.S. Lewis:

"The Naturalist can't, except in the lowest animal sense, "care" about anything, or be in "love" with anyone if he knows (and keeps on remembering) that all of the pressing weight of a matter, or all of the beauties of person, or of a person's character, are all a momentary and involuntary pattern produced by blind forces constraining aimless reverberations of photons, and that his own response to them is only a sort of Psychic Phosphorescence arising from a deterministic dance to blind, indifferent genes, ultimately. The Naturalist can't go on getting very serious pleasure from music, or displeasure from lies, if he knows and remembers that their air of significance are both, ultimately, blind, hollow urge and that he likes the one, or dislikes the other, only because his nervous system is, ultimately, irrationally conditioned to like the one or dislike the other."

When we love, when we are loved, we find in the New Atheist's explanation of what is happening within that I-You, within that Singular-We, to be, simply, inadequate, for it, ultimately, makes our love a lie.


The Inverse of this loveless reality is found within that Ultimate-Reality-Is-Love account of things. In that Pattern, in Christ, in that Eternally Sacrificed Self, we find our love to be, ultimately, validated.

i dunno, i dont see what the big deal is

at some level, i do indeed agree that my mom is ultimately just a "Psychic Phosphorescence arising from a deterministic dance".

(Not to mention the fact that, she's 100% Italian -- and is hence, more bound to this dance than normal people.)

But i love her anyway.

Italian... Mine too...sort of.

Your account was one of the more honest and accurate from a purely naturalistic view. You are too honest. However, I think the issue is that "many" out there who are speaking on this from the Pure Naturalism side of things try to say what you say, and then they don't put a period at the end of the sentence.

They then smuggle in through a subtle inference their own flavor of ought as applied to the course of human events.

It is that dishonesty which this topic is actually addressing as per the opening of, ".....The old atheists did not want to have to face questions like these, so they simply denied the reality of objective moral values. The new atheists have thrown the door open...."

And so the initial "....the daunting problem for the new atheist is the nature and source (ontology) of the moral law..." is FIRST met with a description of biochemistry (etc) such as the one you gave (nature and source). THEN after conceding aimless phosphorescence (etc, etc) they THEN give a subtle nuance here and there about some sort of "direction" of this "toward" something. They first admit the Blinder is on, and then they remove the Blinder and give the horse both a Rider and a Trophy.

Well, you know what I mean.

And, so, here we will now go through I'm sure about 60 posts from various folks on the issue of Moral Grounding.

A fatal issue, for me, and this is just me, is what love ends up being within atheism (as per my post above) which, when juxtaposed to my own experience of what love actually "is", both in my encounter with people and with Christ, is simply obscene. Even a lie. Atheism is ultimately loveless in the sense of how we both use and experience the word/reality of love (as per my post above). Herein something is amiss. Among all the Ought-To-Be-Otherwise screams of those angry at God for all the pain, all the unexplainable pain, there lies at the bottom nothing more than a loveless bed to sleep in. All the while, Love Himself by His very Existence solves the riddle, unwraps the enigma, grounds the scream, and, ultimately, validates our love.

Melinda is correct to say "The new atheists have thrown the door open."

I've personally heard daniel dennett, richard dawkins, and sam harris basically do just that.

They're basically just striving for a redefinition of objective morality.

its the most dull debate ever

but anyway, contrary to popular belief, the world doesn't come crumbling down once you realize objective morals don't exist.

i still fell in love on a greek island in 2006. and i still stop at red lights.

I like this new fad.

"but anyway, contrary to popular belief, the world doesn't come crumbling down once you realize objective morals don't exist."

Oh, but they do exist.

>>but anyway, contrary to popular belief, the world doesn't come crumbling down once you realize objective morals don't exist.
i still fell in love on a greek island in 2006. and i still stop at red lights.

Because people are endlessly capable of self deception in order to be self serving. The fact that you fell in love and still stop at red lights is demonstrative of natural law in action, whether you honestly admit it's source, or prevaricate and insist that if you deny God enough it will make Him vanish. That's a rebellion nearly as old as time.

Or, perhaps you are engaging in self deception - in your belief that a sentient creator of the cosmos is necessary for one to have a "human experience."

When one's intellectually stated reality contradicts one's existentially felt reality, one is a walking contradiction. Hence the utter incoherence between the atheist's stated, and felt, "human experiences".


The fault of the New Atheist is his dishonesty when he attempts to say objective moral laws exist.

ToNy is not making that mistake.

ToNy IS making the mistake of the honest atheist. He states his intellectually stated belief of aimless phosphorescence. And, then, his felt "human experience" manifests as incoherent WITHIN it. The moment he so much as raises an eyebrow via some sort of of inner, subtle nudge of "maybe we shouldn't" or "maybe I ought to" or "should" or "good" or "better" or "should have been" he therein has a felt notion which is incoherent WITHIN his previously stated intellectual belief of aimless phosphorescence wherein all things are amoral at bottom.

These two faults, the one of the dishonest atheist, and the one of the honest atheist who "believes" differently than he "feels" make for this perpetually circular and endless discussion we are bound to have on this blog topic.

The Intellectually stated reality and the Existentially felt reality are incoherent with one another WITHIN atheism. One, or the other, must be called, at bottom, an illusion.

ToNy is calling the Love an illusion (while telling us he falls in love) whereas, the theist is calling the bedrock of an aimless phosphorescence an illusion.

Love is not an illusion. Herein lies the fatal flaw of atheism. Herein something is amiss. Among all the Ought-To-Be-Otherwise screams of those angry at "god" for all the pain, all the unexplainable pain, there lies at the bottom nothing more than a loveless bed to sleep in. All the while, Love Himself by His very Existence solves the riddle, unwraps the enigma, grounds the scream, and, ultimately, validates love.

We must add....Among all the Ought-To-Be-Otherwise screams against all the pain, all the unexplainable pain, there lies at the bottom nothing more than a loveless, oughtless, amoral bed to sleep in.....Hence the contradiction and incoherence of any atheist who "feels" (or suggests) any ought or any should or any "better" or any "worse" about any subject whatsoever.... The Bottom Bedrock of amoral, loveless, oughtless wholly contradicts the Felt, shouted scream against the pain, or in favor of the beloved.

One, or the other, is "real" at bottom, while one, or the other, is "aimless phosphorescence" at bottom.

Which is, at bottom, illusion, and which is, at bottom, bedrock reality, is where the Theist and the Atheist ultimately disagree.

In Christ we find Love Himself as the Ultimately Real within "God Is-Love".

well the love felt real to me

and thats enough

Of course its enough. Its just not coherent against the backdrop of the aimless, oughtless, loveless, Amoral phosphorescense that is, at bottom, The-Real.

"God Is-Love" is the elephent in the room.

"And that's enough"

But Tony, the whole point of Jesus was to help us see there is so much more to reality

I pray you allow yourself to return to that truth my friend.

"the whole point of Jesus was to help us see there is so much more to reality"

That's the nice part of Christianity, and I don't say that lightly. I genuinely think it's a very nice idea, and one I would very much like to believe in.

The problem is that in order to get behind that idea in an honest and intellectually rigorous way, one must get behind all sorts of other ideas. Christianity, at least from an outsider's perspective, is so much more than believing in Jesus.

I'll gladly acknowledge that my worldview has its problems, but you'll never convince me that stoning rebellious children and taking women as "plunder" was ever okay in any time or place.

At the end of the day, I'd much rather deal with hard questions (good questions!) about where my morality comes from than believe that those lovely gay gentlemen in New York are doing anything any worse than my mom and dad did when they got married.

What about atheist environmentalists.

Question: So what if the earth becomes so polluted it can’t sustain life and it just becomes another planet like the septillion that exist among the billions of galaxies in the universe?

That’s my favorite question.

Nyan Cat-

Real things work that way...they're full of surprises. And they aren't always pleasant surprises.

Believe me, I wish that the Bible contained a history of God guiding Israel in a way that reflected late 20th century early 21st century sensibilities. But it doesn't.

So now what? If I reject Christianity because of this what am I to do?

Given the fact that the One God Who is Just, Merciful, Gracious, Wise and Almighty, must serve as the foundation of morality and science, it seems to me that I have two choices:

1. Skepticism.

2. Hold out for a better revelation of God.

Neither of these seem very rational choices given the facts.

It's also worth noting that option 1, at least, indeed does not have anything to say about executing incurably rebellious children who've become gluttons and drunkards (Deuteronomy 21) in a land surrounded by enemies. But it also has nothing to say about the killing of millions of children in an affluent super-power by aborting them before they've even had the chance to be a little bit naughty.

So I am forced back to Christianity. And I just have to try to understand why some of those things that I don't like make sense in context.

For example, on the stoning of incurably rebellious children, I suppose that a lot depends on how much that actually happened, and whose benefit the commandment was for. It might be that in Biblical times no children were actually stoned for anything that would not have merited execution on other grounds, e.g. rape or murder. If so, what was the point of the commandment?

Let's grant this point: no child is so rebellious from birth that it cannot be raised to be a responsible adult. To get to the point that you have an incurably rebellious child who has become a glutton and a drunkard, you've got to have some pretty negligent parenting going on.

Let us also note this fact: Western Culture, in its suicidal mode, may keep romanticizing the rebel, but the fact is that rebels reap the whirlwind in their lives and in everyone's lives that they touch.

So, possibly, the commandment was given, not as a way of disposing of unwanted children, but so that parents would be forced to look down the road a bit to see death waiting for their children should they raise them to be rebellious. Because it is waiting...whether in a stoning or in a slow agonizing descent into lawlessness, abuse and poverty.

Hi Melinda and STR Staff:

Let me propose something which I think this line of theistic/Christian argumentation doesn't lay hands on very well, and let's see what you respond. For the record, I think epistemologically and metaphysically you are 100% right to say what you say here, but you miss the wholly-existential argument of the atheists who, I think, resort to this line of evangelism most often.

Here's what that it is not: "I know it is good because it feels good." Rather, it is this: "Because (for example) the well-being of others is a self-evident good, I know it is good. I do not need God to explain to me what I know is self-evidently good."

This is an interesting gambit because let's face it: we agree that there are things which are self-evidently good and right. We believe Romans 1&2, after all. The difference between us and the atheist in this case becomes the distinction between saying, "and because it's self-evident, it's evidence of God," or saying, "therefore there is good without God." The only reason the Christian does not accept this as a stalemate is that we apply the authority of Scripture to the question and it tells us that the apparent design there points to God; the atheist merely accepts the existential particulars as mere facts with no need for a greater explanation, and in fact rejects the teleological explanation(s) as more complicated than necessary.

In some sense, asking the atheist, "by what standard?" is like asking him, "How do you know it's blue?" or "how do you know it's Vanilla?" or "How do you know it stings?" He would tell you he knows because he knows -- which we can call a tautology, but he would say only that even a beginning Christian would admit that all things are declaring something. There is something which can be known in the world, and you just have to look.

From that perspective, it is utterly possible to be good without God -- to be, externally, the kind of person who receives and accepts what is true about the world and acts as if it is true without ascribing to it all, for example, the need for a purpose larger than what is immediately perceived.

How would you respond to that?

KWM,

"Question: So what if the earth becomes so polluted it can’t sustain life and it just becomes another planet like the septillion that exist among the billions of galaxies in the universe?"

if we could readily get to the others, it wouldn't matter so much.

but since we can't, it makes sense to clean the air on this one.

A better question to ask is:

"So what if the earth becomes so polluted that it can’t sustain life. Afterall, Jesus is coming to give us a new earth anyway. And, even if I don't live to see that, I get a mansion when I die in a land in a different dimension anyway."

I'm not a new (or old) atheist, but I can easily imagine how these questions could be satisfactorily answered:

If everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry, help me understand what a moral value is

False premise. It is not the case that everything ultimately must be explained by the laws of physics and chemistry. There are such things as abstract a-physical concepts. For instance, mathematical proofs.

A "moral value" is an idea someone has about what is right or wrong. Their idea may have no authority or ultimate basis, but it is nevertheless a "moral value".

How did matter, energy, time and chance result in a set of objective moral values?

Short answer: they did not. There is no objective set of moral values. However, there could be a set of values that "works best in practice". In this formulation, violating the dictates of one of these values isn't so much "wrong" as it is "inefficient" or "unproductive" toward the end of maximizing the happiness and well-being of the community. Values are pragmatic. Murder is condemned not because it violates the will of a supernatural being, but because it damages the well-being and happiness of the community as a whole.

What makes your moral standard more than a subjective opinion or personal preference?

Nothing.

What makes it truly binding or obligatory?

Nothing.

Why can’t I just ignore it?

You could. But you might get sent to prison and earn the scorn of the community. It might also make you unhappy.

Won’t our end be the same (death and the grave) either way?

Yes and no. Everyone dies in both cases, but in the case where you, say, gun down a bunch of kids, the net well-being and happiness of the community is degraded. Therefore if my aim is to improve the well-being and happiness of the community it behooves me to deter such behavior. Partly this is accomplished via the legal system, but legal restrictions are made more effective if a cultural "value" can be created that condemns the damaging activity.

The toughest question is: "Why do you care so much about maximizing the well-being and happiness of the community?"

First, it's selfish since I'm a part of the community myself. Maximizing the overall well-being and happiness of the community usually means improving my own situation. A rising tide lifts all boats, etc.

Second, I'm just built that way. You say "made in the image of God" and I say "evolved to have a sense of altruism". For whatever reason being entirely selfish (i.e. maximize my own well-being and happiness at the expense of others) does not satisfy me. I don't want to be unhappy ergo I seek to maximize the well-being of happiness of the community as a whole.

I supposed it depends on who's definition of "good" you're using. I don't think it's so obviously easy to simple state that of course you can be good with out God.

The Bible is pretty clear that we are a prone to sin. Yes, we "who are evil [do occasionally] give good gifts," but the crux of Jesus point is that non-Christians are not good. They are, in fact, evil.

LoveHimselfRescuedToNy,

>>”but since we can't, it makes sense to clean the air on this one.”

Nah, it makes sense for me to use as much resources as I can to make my life better and more comfortable.

Many of us enjoy rape. Many just want to see the world burn. Many of us enjoy eating our neighbors.

No one here has shown me any reason within atheism for such not to chase happiness. They WANT to see the world burn. Buddyglass will give us his oughtless mathmatical proofs. How ridiculous.

-oughtless mathmatical proofs

- "I'm just built that way... [I want to see the world burn]....maximize my own.... happiness....I don't want to be unhappy ergo I seek to maximize [my happiness]..."

- tanx alot for the permission buddyglass

"No one here has shown me any reason within atheism for such not to chase happiness."

Agreed. There is no "should" absent some specific goal. To say "You should not do that" in an absolute sense has no meaning for the atheist. The "should" has to be qualified, e.g. "You should not do that if you care about the well-being and happiness of other people". Or, "You should not do that if you want to avoid going to prison."

Most thoughtful atheists get to this point and don't have a problem admitting they have. It's when they try to ascribe "absolute authority" to a certain set of morals that they get into trouble.

buddyglass,

Would it be okay to cheat on your spouse if you knew you wouldn’t get caught (i.e. your spouse wouldn't be hurt) and at the same time it increased your happiness?

"Would it be okay to cheat on your spouse if you knew you wouldn’t get caught (i.e. your spouse wouldn't be hurt) and at the same time it increased your happiness?"

It would be as "okay" as not cheating on your spouse. That's the point. There is no ultimate "okay" and "not okay". There is only "effective" and "not effective" towards achieving a particular end. If your end is "maximizing your own happiness by maximizing the happiness of others" then cheating on your spouse would be "not effective" toward achieving that end.

Again, Bud, tanx fer the permission.

buddyglass,

>>” If your end is "maximizing your own happiness by maximizing the happiness of others" then cheating on your spouse would be "not effective" toward achieving that end.”

Why? If your spouse would never find out? Also, the person you are cheating with would be happy.

"Again, Bud, tanx fer the permission."

I'm not the boss of you; you don't need my permission to rape someone.

"Why? If your spouse would never find out? Also, the person you are cheating with would be happy."

Good point. I suppose if you are someone who isn't bothered in the slightest by totally deceiving his or her spouse, and if you're reasonably certain your spouse will never find out, then go ahead and cheat.

Personally, I don't know many situations where those conditions hold true.

Buddyglass,

>>”I suppose if you are someone who isn't bothered in the slightest by totally deceiving his or her spouse.”

Why should I be bothered? Should I be bothered because I’m being “ineffective”? The spouse would never find out.

>>”…and if you're reasonably certain your spouse will never find out, then go ahead and cheat.”

Are you being genuine? If the goal is to be “effective” (whatever that means) or create the most happiness, why wouldn’t this be the more reasonable act under the circumstances?

Bud, again, tanx for the green light.

Ditto, bud.

"Why should I be bothered?"

There is no "should" there's just "are" and "aren't". Most people "are". If you're in the "aren't" category then you have no motivation other than the possible repercussions for refraining.

"Bud, again, tanx for the green light."

No problem. Give torture a head's up for me, will you? Thx.

Torture can't respond. He was murdered by rape.

"but anyway, contrary to popular belief, the world doesn't come crumbling down once you realize objective morals don't exist."

No not right away. But over time there is no moral and intellectual capital to stand up to Fascism or eugenics.

Just like radiation does not kill people right away but over time its effects are very deadly.

Besides, the only reason the world would not suffer immensely right away is because many atheists would choose to not live consistently with the implications of their worldview. They would go on talking about doing good, social justice and stopping genocide, all while ignoring the "why?"

Give that a couple of generations though and people would eventually catch on. So it is just naive to think that denying objective moral values does not eventually have deadly consequences.

I dunno - it hasn't been proven to me one way or the other -- whether or not we'd be better or worse off without God.

Obviously you've got people like Dawkins who are convinced that, if everyone were an atheist, the world would be peaches.

I guess you'd have fewer people willing to die for 72 virgins...

Then again, sure seems like they'red be more conmen and bank robberies...

It's an interesting question for sociologists and historians. But I seriously doubt that there's a clearcut answer to it.

many atheists would choose to not live consistently with the implications of their worldview. They would go on talking about doing good, social justice and stopping genocide

Those things aren't inconsistent with their world view, depending on why they're doing them. If their world view is that "Evolution hard-wired me to care about the good of the many; as a consequence I want to make the world a better place by improving the lot of the poor, stopping genocide, etc." then doing those things is entirely consistent.

Give that a couple of generations though and people would eventually catch on.

Seems like this predicts a largely atheistic society will fall into total chaos and anarchy, with people murdering each other in the streets. Doesn't seem like that's happened. In the limited set of first-world democracies, the shift away from religion has seemed to have little effect.

As you point out, people are made in God's image. They have right and wrong engraved on their hearts. (They might say it was evolution, but same net result.) That's why societies don't explode in a big flash once people turn away from religion.

Would anyone here like to hear from an atheist? Actually, we are all atheists; I just go one "god" further. In any event, have any of you believers ever considered the fact that there have existed thousands of religions over the millennia? What gives you assurance that yours is the only true one?

i always like watching atheists argue that there isn't anything innately wrong with rape or murder. the reason not to is fear of prison or if something else makes you happier. there is no law abutting mankind other than his own i'm built this way happiness. ever watch a rape? a murder? doesn't matter. they'll still argue that there is no law abutting against mankind from "outside", and its just i'm built this way and it's just what makes me happy. even in the face of a woman being raped. i've always enjoyed watching them argue that. they always do. the funny part is that they think that, while we are witnessing the brutal rape, and then murder of the victim, their words will ring true to us. ridiculous. i'd even go so far as to say pathological.

Dennis-

Belief in one less God than me is akin to a solipsist's belief in one less universe than me. Sorry, it may be fun to think about in philosophy class, but it's just not an enlightened view.

There have indeed been thousands of religions. Some of them, e.g. Buddhism or Jainism do not assert the existence of a God. Insofar as these religions are simply silent about God and not positively atheistic, and insofar as they do not otherwise conflict with the theistic alternatives, they may even be worth considering as possibly true additions to the true faith.

Among theistic religions, you can't seriously be saying that there's no rational reason to prefer Christianity to, say, Thor worship. If God has chosen to reveal Himself, He's going to succeed. God is not Thor, because God didn't see to it that worship of Thor flourished.

There are only four theistic faiths worth considering as possibly true:

1. Christianity
2. Judaism
3. Hinduism
4. Islam

God is Just, Merciful and Gracious. Of those four religions, which of them is the religion that speaks of a God of Grace?

Buddyglass,

>>”There is no "should" there's just "are" and "aren't". Most people "are". If you're in the "aren't" category then you have no motivation other than the possible repercussions for refraining.”

Nope. What’s the definition of bothered as used in this example? That’s your word, not mine. Why would I be bothered? Again, because I’m being ineffective?

Also, you chose to totally ignore my question:

If the goal is to be “effective” (whatever that means) or create the most happiness, why wouldn’t this be the more reasonable act under the circumstances?

Nope. What’s the definition of bothered as used in this example?

Perturbed. Upset by.

Why would I be bothered?

Evolutionary conditioning.

If the goal is to be “effective” (whatever that means) or create the most happiness, why wouldn’t this be the more reasonable act under the circumstances?

In that isolated example, with all the caveats I mentioned, yes. Those caveats being: the cheater has to not be bothered by his cheating, the cheating cannot affect his behavior going forward in a way that negatively impacts his spouse, there can be no chance of the spouse ever finding out.

There's also the question of whether "happiness based on falsehood" is in any way inferior to "happiness based on truth". In your example the spouse's well-being is only preserved by way of his or her ignorance of the truth.

Bud we love watching your grasping at air while trying to cling to your morals all the while trying to fling morality out the window....love it! you're TOO funny....do you even believe the ridiculous circular-words coming out of your own mouth!

Bud what is inferior supposed to mean?

whether "happiness based on falsehood" is in any way inferior to "happiness based on truth"

What?

first you say there is no better or worse on any moral issue as there is no moral law

then you raise that self-negating premise

you're grasping at air trying to cling to morality all the while trying to fling morality out the window

you are TOO funny!

we enjoy the show though so keep it up!

any thoughts our kids on the effectiveness of rape on their own happiness should they figure that's just how they're built and that's what makes them happy


cling, cling, cling, Bud

"Those things aren't inconsistent with their world view, depending on why they're doing them. If their world view is that "Evolution hard-wired me to care about the good of the many; as a consequence I want to make the world a better place by improving the lot of the poor, stopping genocide, etc." then doing those things is entirely consistent."

The problem Buddy is that choosing to still do right by your species because evolution compels you is not an "ought." What is a better place? Who are you to decide? And so what if you choose to make the world a better place as you have defined it, why is any one else obligated to live by those same standards? This is not objective morality/obligations, this is just you advocating existentialism, in which you choose to live in a way that you want to.

Besides ultimately it is a fool's errand to care about evolution or the advancement of the species, even if it is "hard-wired" into us. Eventually the Sun will go super nova, the Universe will suffer heat death and all evolving or advancing will be moot and meaningless.

This is the cold hard reality of an atheistic worldview. Therefore, the most consistent thing you can do is realize the absolute absurdity of us 6 billion people spinning on a rock and just soak up as much pleasure as you can, since none of what we do will matter at all in the end.

- make the world a better place -

What?


Bud is clinging, clinging, to his morality all the while trying to fling morality out the window, Ryan.


Bud any thoughts for our kids out there on the effectiveness of making the world a better place by rape and on rape tied to their own happiness should they figure that's just how they're built and that's what makes them happy?


cling, cling, cling, Bud

buddyglass,

To quote a fav:

I won't insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.

I think you’re being disingenuous now.

Continuing to follow Buddy's logic I am left to wander a few more things.

If I am just hard-wired by evolution why should I ever resist any biological urge I have. What if I have an urge to kill, rape, steal, or burn my neighbor's house down? Why should I resist these urges?

Just because Buddy may choose not to act on them, who is he to say that it is "wrong" for me to do so? After all, I am just acting out of how I am wired.

As I said before, the reason an atheists life might not look that different than someone who believes in a moral-giving God, is because they choose to live inconsistently with their worldview. Buddy knows this, but is trying to fight against this reality.

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