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January 29, 2013

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It is important to teach children facts about reality. About things that are True.


“Decent people” means, well, what?


Does Truth matter? Why? Pain and Pleasure only? On what grounds? “Because I say so”? “I-Feel”?



This leads to two words:

Infinite regress.


We teach children about Uncreated Love because He is True. Now, the infinite regress ends in Truth and in Love beyond Whom there just are no appeals.

The alternative is Ben’s (an agnostic who argues from the point of pure materialism here on STR) very honest claim that Truth and Error are perfectly interchangeable so long as he has a Very Fun Experience. And he defines Very Fun Experience from a perfectly Internally Focused Reference, which is where his I-Feel infinite regress ends.

Truth matters. This is the reason, or at least one reason, to teach children about the fact of Uncreated Love Who Himself is Truth.

The person indicates an internally structured morality is superior to an externally structured one. But the person's list of a better moral structure itself contains an external focus in its appeal to making the family proud. At that level, what's the difference, in this person's mind, between telling children they must be good because their family is watching them and telling children they must be good because God is watching them?

As for the internal focus: one can get a good nights sleep and not be a good person. One can feel good about themselves and not be a good person.

And what does it mean to say "They will be decent people" in a Godless universe? Ultimately, what makes a decent person will have to have an *external* measure, such as society. The author must mean either something like "You will be the type of person who fulfills this external standard" or else "You will be the type of person who feels good about yourself." If the former, they fall prey to their own criticism. If the latter, one doesn't need to be good to feel good about themselves.

A morality that is exclusively internally structured can lead to the vice of selfishness. Because an internal focus is relative to the person's unique psychology and goals, it cannot be objective. There's no guarantee that an internal standard will match up to an external standard.

But it should also be pointed out that a God-focused morality doesn't need to rule out the things the author lists. When you have peace with God, you can sleep better at night knowing that the only one you should truly fear you have no reason to fear. What could make a father or mother prouder than to know that their child has a right relationship with God? If you have peace with God, you can feel better about yourself knowing that you're fulfilling who you were meant to be as a creature made in the image of God. You will be a "decent" human because you will be fulfilling what it means to be a human.

But that reflection raises the crucial point that our relationship with God is broken. We aren't the good people we should be. So a God-focused morality has the benefit of showing us our deep failure to be moral and then providing us with love and forgiveness in spite of that. Likewise, this translates to our human relationships. We don't just fail to treat God rightly, we fail to treat each other rightly and others will fail to treat us rightly. God's gracious and forgiving attitude toward us provides the basis and model of our relationship with fellow humans. We need to recognize our failures with other people, just as our failures with God, and ask for their forgiveness. Likewise, we need to extend forgiveness to those who fail to treat us as they should.

I agree with the first post that the argument fails because the parents are still appealing to external sources (i.e. themselves), but perhaps every time there is a moral conundrum they encourage the child to make up his own mind? This leads to the very worst of all the scenarios where the child thinks he himself (not his parents, God, etc.) determines right and wrong. Of course we all have an internal moral compass but it can be damaged pretty easily.

Isn't this view just assuming from the outset the very thing that is supposed to be proven via the moral argument? Namely, that objective morality is an ontogological fact, that it is exists independently of our minds? It seems like a gross misunderstanding of the position. They talk of doing what is "right" internally, but they whole point of the moral argument is that there CAN BE NO objective right,(or wrong for that matter) if God does not exist. That is, it has no real, ontological status. Maybe it is subjective, but that has a host of problems it seems. I'm not even at this point saying that the Moral argument works, but simply saying that the view misunderstands it and seems to assume the existence of objective morality, which is supposed to be the very thing in question. Just some thoughts I was spouting out.

The author makes many false assumptions. Such as:


1) "God is watching" is the rational behind good behavior for the Christian.


It isn't.


2) "Going to heaven" is the rational behind good behavior for the Christian.


It isn't.


3) There is a difference between "Society is watching" and "The Family is watching" and "God is watching".


There isn't.


4) "I-Feel" reduces to Ought.


It doesn't.

It is the materialist, not the theist, who reduces all things to "someone is watching" and, or Reward/Punishment.

Goodness itself, and Being-Good, are found in quite a different, and more meaningful, place for the Christian, and the particular location described within Uncreated Love happens to be the True place where such things are actually found. And because Truth matters, the Christian ends with the "better" (that is, true) explanation.

Two points:

1 - Right off the bat, this person is assuming things about our view that are incorrect.
Christianity doesn't teach that we are to teach our children to be good "because God is watching". I don't know any parent who behaves in this manner.

2 - But more importantly, without God, who's to say what is "good" or "moral" in the first place? What is the standard?


For the sake of discussion, suppose you get your god and his attending 'objective morality'.

How do you apply this to answer a moral question?

RonH

There is an old episode from "Mork and Midy" where the daft alien, oblivious to nothing other than the inner felt nees of children allow the kids to make their own decisions and enjoy their concept of a fulfilled life. In the end, all the children were ill, cranky, and totally unhappy.

We seem to never learn the lesson of equating "what is right in our own eyes" as nothing but the best, until we practice it and learn that we can't make morality up as we go along. Doing something from selfish zeal to gain momentary advantage may have an iota of common sense, but should be done with the asking of two questions: At whose expense will this choice affect? What possible negative consequences down the road?

In this brief paragraph it seems they first assume there is a "right" thing to decide and they offer no explanation as to how you know what that "right" thing is or what reason you have for doing the "right" thing. To make your family proud? To feel better about yourself? These are all subjective standards. What if doing the right thing comes at the risk of making your family upset with you? What if your understanding of the right thing conflicts with someone else's understanding? How do you know who is actually right?

I have a hard time believing that these people can actually live out this notion consistently with their children. For example, what happens the when their 14 year old decides to disobey because his "internally structured morality" is in conflict with what his parents are telling him to do?

Without God the "internally structured" morality just becomes subjective. This means the parent or the child's environment becomes the external focus moral compass. This would make it quite possible that you can raise moral children and adults but they become their own God and will ultimately decide what is right and wrong for them.
I would ask her how she determines what is right and wrong. This is a problem with moral relativism. She is merely shaping her child's morality instead of God. This doesn't mean her child can't be moral or an upstanding citizen.
Her point fails because Christians don't argue that you can't show positive moral behavior without God. We argue that without God there can't be a right or wrong because it is all subjective and arbitrary.

KS, Dawn, DGFischer,

Did you read my comment above?

Ron,

Your comment just shifts the focus to a different topic. So we might as well ask you "Did you read the post above?"

It's usually a sign that no fruitful discussion can take place when a person, after recieving an answer to their argument, simply jumps to a new one without acknowledging that any answer was given to the former one. That's not parallel to you in this case, since you didn't give the argument the post is raising to begin with, but you should be careful that you don't give off the appearance of just trying to throw up anything that might stick, showing no genuine interest in the question themselves but only in playing "gotcha!"

Janitor,

The responses from KS, Dawn, and DGFischer all hinge on this idea that, from the Christian god, comes 'objective morality'.

If this is true, then we should be able to see how to apply this 'objective morality'.

So, how do you apply it?

No fair importing anything from other 'worldviews'.

RonH

Ron,

If you can interact with the issue at hand I'd be willing to address your other question.

RonH,

> So, how do you apply it?

Let's examine this idea from the "back door." If it can be established that the non-application leads to undesirable or destructive consequences, would that be a fair method of examination?

> No fair importing anything from other 'worldviews'.

Can you explain the rationale for this rule/procedure? Is it a valid limitation to the discussion?

Ron,

To give an example of why I don't find your "The responses from ... all hinge on..." the least bit convincing is that you might as well point out that they all hinge on the Christian God existing. But they haven't proved that to you yet either. So why not ask them to prove to you God's existence?

Thus, it looks like you just want to jump to the next objection in your script without any genuine concern for the objection or answer at hand.

It seems to me that the challenger does not really understand religion. Christianity, at least, does not teach that because God is watching you should do good. It teaches that there IS good, it tells you what it IS, and it tells us we SHOULD do good. So really, I think the thing to address here is the assertion that we do good because of a fear of 'God' (which you addressed in a challenge response a little while ago). Also, what do they mean by 'we place responsibility of doing the right thing onto the shoulders of our children"? Do they think that God has the responsibility of doing good, not the children? You could also address that belief has no effect on what is real (No, they won’t go to heaven or rule their own planets when they die, but they can sleep better at night.). I like the point that other posters made -- that without God morality becomes relative, and that there is NO good without God.

William Lane Craig answered this challenge on his website. It was his question of the week, which I thought was answered very well.

If it can be established that the non-application leads to undesirable or destructive consequences, would that be a fair method of examination?

We can try this.

How do we establish this without establishing How do you apply it?

We also need to know what 'undesirable consequences' are?

And what is 'destructive', please?

Nick,

there is NO good without God.

What is this? A definition?

Applying Morality:


The Theist applies Truth Telling, while the Materialist applies Lies. The Materialist lies to himself and to his children ipso facto. Now, “how do we apply morality” begins, well, right here. Right there.


From the very start, there is a Y in the road. On the Theist’s side, Truth-Telling. And the reason is obvious: Truth matters. On the Materialist’s side, Self-Deception, and, consequently, deception of the child. And the reason is obvious: Truth and Lies/Errors are perfectly interchangeable so long as we, on the whole, have, on the whole, a very favorable experience.


Good and Evil are “subjective” things which exist only “In Here” and not “Out There”, per the Materialist, unlike his body, his coffee cup, and his car, which are objectively real things “Out There”.


Good and Evil, like all Fairy Tales, are, well, Equally-Un-Real, equally a product of the mind. Per the materialist.

Well then, if Fairy Tales are all there are, why do we find materialists damming those who have Fairy Tales which differ from their own? Aren't Fairy Tales just that: Fairy Tales?


And this is where the lying begins. “Go out into the real world and fight to stop real evils out there.” “Go out into the real world and fight to promote real good out there”.


And of course the Materialist tells us that Good/Evil are *not-objective*. Like cars. Or coffee cups. Or even the Materialist himself.

And so there are no real evils out there. There is no real good out there. There is only the Fairy Tale of Imagination.


And from this point forward the Lie is perpetuated because the Materialist will forever more teach morality to the child with language of a sort which imparts the big “AS-IF” flavor of realness to Good and Evil and Fighting to Stop/Promote such things. “AS-IF” those are real things, and by real we mean something other than Fairy Tales of our own Imagination.


Fairy Tales are exactly this: Equally-Un-Real. Or, EUR.


All Fairy Tales, all inventions of Imagination are EUR.


But the Materialist continues the Lie as he “applies morality” and speaks “AS-IF” the Materialist’s coffee cup is “more true” than the Theist’s coffee cup. This is not true. Coffee cups are Equally Real for the very same reason that inventions of our imaginations, our Fairy Tales, are Equally-Un-Real.


The Big As-If lie:

But the Materialist does not *apply* Truth here when he teaches his child about morality. He lies. This is how he “applies morality”. Auto-Hypnosis. And, lying to the child. The child grows up being taught various nuances “AS-IF” our Fairy Tales are “UN-Equally-Fake” and by this deception the child is then brought to a bridge where he can fight to stop “less true” Fairy Tales (“evil”) and fight to promote “more true” Fairy Tales (“good”), and so on, and so on. He is even taught to lay down his very real life, or to take another’s very real life, for these inventions of imagination. And then, when the slaughter of twenty school children is completed, and the Materialists is asked if such is “innately evil” (wrong/evil regardless of man’s fairy tales) he remains uncommitted, unable to bridge that gap from Fairy Tale Evil into Objective Evil. He remains silent and then has a remarkable forgetfulness as he proceeds to continue in his Auto-Hypnosis carrying on about Truth and Good and Evil “AS-IF” the Big-Lie is still intact, still meaningful.


Well, it is not intact.


He is lying to the child. EUR is EUR. Coffee cups and Bodies and equally real. Fairy Tales, all of them, are EUR.


Note that all the while this nonsense, these lies, are going on in the Materialist’s method of “Applying Morality” by engaging in Auto-Hypnosis and Deception-Of-The-Child, the Theist is maintaining both internal and external coherency and logical consistency with both himself, his child, the world within him, and the world external to him.

The start of the Lie’s foundation:


“The only way most people who deny purpose in life live happily is either by making up some purpose, which amounts to self-delusion as we saw with Sartre, or by not carrying their view to its logical conclusions. Take the problem of death, for example. According to Ernst Bloch, the only way modern man lives in the face of death is by subconsciously borrowing the belief in immortality that his forefathers held to, even though he himself has no basis for this belief, since he does not believe in God [Objective Good/Evil]. By borrowing the remnants of a belief in immortality, writes Bloch, "modern man does not feel the chasm that unceasingly surrounds him and that will certainly engulf him at last. Through these remnants, he saves his sense of self-identity…….This quite shallow courage feasts on a borrowed credit card. It lives from earlier hopes and the support that they once had provided." Modern man no longer has any right to that support, since he rejects God. But in order to live purposefully, he makes a leap of faith to affirm a reason for living.”

A hint at how the Lie progresses:


“…… it's interesting to see many thinkers betray their views when they're pushed to their logical conclusions. For example, certain feminists have raised a storm of protest over Freudian sexual psychology because it is chauvinistic and degrading to women. And some psychologists have knuckled under and revised their theories. Now this is totally inconsistent. If Freudian psychology is really true, then it doesn't matter if it's degrading to women. You can't change the truth because you don't like what it leads to. But people cannot live consistently and happily in a world where other persons are devalued. Yet if God does not exist, then nobody has any value. Only if God exists can a person consistently support women's rights. For if God does not exist, then natural selection dictates that the male of the species is the dominant and aggressive one. Women would no more have rights than a female goat or chicken have rights. In nature whatever is, is right.”

The Lie thus enters:


“The dilemma of modern man is thus truly terrible. And insofar as he denies the existence of God and the objectivity of value and purpose, this dilemma remains unrelieved for "post-modern" man as well. Indeed, it is precisely the awareness that modernism issues inevitably in absurdity and despair that constitutes the anguish of post-modernism. In some respects, post-modernism just is the awareness of the bankruptcy of modernity. The atheistic world view is insufficient to maintain a happy and consistent life. Man cannot live consistently and happily as though life were ultimately without meaning, value, or purpose. If we try to live consistently within the atheistic world view, we shall find ourselves profoundly unhappy. If instead we manage to live happily, it is only by giving the lie to our world view.”


The Big-Lie revealed, and titled the “Noble Lie” to save us:


“Confronted with this dilemma, man flounders pathetically for some means of escape. In a remarkable address to the American Academy for the Advancement of Science in 1991, Dr. L. D. Rue, confronted with the predicament of modern man, boldly advocated that we deceive ourselves by means of some "Noble Lie" into thinking that we and the universe still have value. Claiming that "The lesson of the past two centuries is that intellectual and moral relativism is profoundly the case," Dr. Rue muses that the consequence of such a realization is that one's quest for personal wholeness (or self-fulillment) and the quest for social coherence become independent from one another. This is because on the view of relativism the search for self-fulfillment becomes radically privatized: each person chooses his own set of values and meaning. If we are to avoid "the madhouse option," where self-fulfillment is pursued regardless of social coherence, and "the totalitarian option," where social coherence is imposed at the expense of personal wholeness, then we have no choice but to embrace some Noble Lie that will inspire us to live beyond selfish interests and so achieve social coherence. A Noble Lie "is one that deceives us, tricks us, compels us beyond self-interest, beyond ego, beyond family, nation, [and] race." It is a lie, because it tells us that the universe is infused with value (which is a great fiction), because it makes a claim to universal truth (when there is none), and because it tells me not to live for self-interest (which is evidently false). "But without such lies, we cannot live."


The above quotes are taken from, “The Absurdity of Life without God” By William Lane Craig.

Nick,

You stated that without God there is NO good....


Now, note that because you are called on this, or charged with offering, not Truth, but simple Definition, the Big-Lie is still intact in the mind of the one who so charges you. He thinks there IS good without God; he thinks that some Fairy Tales really do come true, namely his own and not yours. In the midst of his Auto-Hypnosis he has convinced himself that some Fairy Tales are more real than other Fairy Tales.

He denies that EUR is EUR where Fairy Tales are concerned.

The Lying thus continues in the method of some as they "Apply Morality". They go on "AS-IF" truth matters, or "AS-IF" one Fairy Tale is "better" than some other Fairy Tale, all the while throwing Truth away as they deny the EUR status of all inventions of imagination.


EUR is EUR. That is the Truth of the matter without something beyond Fairy Tales. That they question this shows us how and why their Auto-Hypnosis must lead to the eventual deception of the child as they "Apply Morality" by offering the child the "Noble Lie". Truth and Error are interchangable in that "Morality".


Just live as if.... as if.... as if....


Of course, one cannot, or will not, live for "as if" and so the child is told, just as one's Self is told, not "as if" but, in the Noble Lie, "it is... it is... it is...."


It is good.... it is evil.... that Fairy Tale is evil, and this Fairy Tale is good.... it is... it is...


Some Fairy Tales really are Real, and some Fairy Tales really are Un-Real...... it just is... it just is...


And so on, and so on......


Seems to me God isn't interested in external focus either. Isn't that why the law led us to the gospel? (Hebrews) The CNN author either hasn't heard or hasn't come to grips with the gospel.

@ RonH -

"Nick,

there is NO good without God.

What is this? A definition?"


Yep. Without an objective standard, there can be no real definition of "good" or "evil". Everything becomes simply what this or that person or group deems it is.

The primary premise here is that fear of some external authority is not an effective motivator towards morality. Instead, some kind of "internally structured" motivator will move children to be "decent people". Although not explicitly stated, it appears that the responsibility for generating these internal structures resides with the parent (implied by "we", "our children" and "their family").

The secondary premise is that God does not exist. God is assumed to be a mythology in the realm of mythical beings such as Santa Claus. Thus, telling children "God is watching" is not an effective motivator because there is no God.

There are multiple problems with the first premise. (a) If the parent is working with his children in shaping their internal structures, isn't the parent an external structure? Isn't the parent watching? Is there no fear involved in this relationship? Has not the parent power over the child? This seems like a contradiction. Now, the parent has assumed the role of God, being an external structure, the very thing that is decried. (b) Fear can be a very effective motivator. When L.A. police withdrew temporarily during the L.A. riots, stores were ransacked by ordinary law-abiding citizens when the fear of punishment was withdrawn. The knowledge that police are watching with radar guns is very effective in motivating people to drive slower. (c) An implied criticism of Christianity is that Christians are only motivated by the fear that God is watching. It is true that evil people are condemned by the Bible because "there is no fear of God in their eyes". Yet it is untrue that this is the only motivator. A more effective motivator towards morality is love for God, based on God's grace as shown in Jesus Christ. "The love of Christ constrains us". Thus, the implied criticism of Christianity is a straw man.

As many have pointed out, there are multiple problems with the second premise. Chiefly, all morality becomes internal and subjective, if there is no God. Maybe Adolph Hitler slept well at night, felt better about himself, and made his parents proud. How can the author of this objection even define "decent people"? This person is obviously defining "decent people" according to his own Christian-influenced culture.

Well, even if God would exist, all morality would still be internal, because obviously axiom like "God represents what is goodness" can never be actually proven. So the ultimate question that is the roadblock of moral philosophies is always the same: do you trust your moral insticts and how do they reflect to the rest of the world?

A philosophy which embraces Lies, and the Noble Lie, in the fine art of the deception of both the Self and of one's children not only deserves no trust, it deserves condemnation. Merrit. Not all philosophies are the same.

Clarification:

Not all moral philosophies are the same.

Some moral philosophies, some moral compasses, have glaring and impassable roadblocks, while others have a celebratory absence of such barricades. The Moral-Compass of Atheism peaks at what we call Deception. Deception of the Self. Deception of our own children. Its Best, its Highest, the Happiest-Thing it has to offer us, this broken compass of atheism, is a grand Noble Lie revealed by Dr. L. D. Rue: Link here.

We don't need Theism to tell us that all things Internal to this universe are not the origin of all things. The External, the Other and Outer, which brings us beyond both the Self and the Self's World, is testified of by all of science, by all data whatsoever on all matter whatsoever.

All data on photons.
All data on dark matter.
All data on wave.
All data on particle.
All data on flux.
All data on vacuum.

All of it, each and every data point starts each sentence it ever speaks, always, with these words, "I am as I now am because of the Prior....."

Forerunner.

Materialism is thus false. Per all Material data.

Pure Science tells us this: External.

All roads lead us beyond ourselves.

The Other and Outer is testified of, always, by all the physical sciences. The Moral Arguement is yet one more confirmation, or, if you like, A confirms B, or, B confirms, A. It really doesn't matter which direction we approach the palindrome from, as either end overcomes various artificial roadblocks.


Statement: EUR is EUR. That is the Truth of the matter without something beyond Fairy Tales.

If this statement is "just a definition", then God must exist for the statement is not true, and some Mind-Constructs turn out to be reflections of some real thing out there.


If this statement is a truth statement, then No-God and we must ask why one questions Nick on it.

If the one who questions it really is questioning it, then he either believes in God, in some Objective Morality beyond Fairy Tales of Imagination, or, his Auto-Hypnosis is full steam ahead, and, as children learn from us, his child will be in his image. The Noble Lie has been passed on from parent to child.


"Go on, go and fight to promate real good in the real world. Not make-believe good like those Christians. But real good....."


Noble Lie.
Auto-Hypnosis.

Brett's response has now been posted

Ron-

The short answer to your question of how we will apply the assumption of objective morality is that we will have arguments about moral questions as if there were a true answer.

It's kind of like what we do with everything else where we assume that there is an objective fact of the matter.

You might as well ask what we will do if you grant that there is an objective mathematics or an objective physics. How will we apply those assumptions? In just the same way. We will have arguments about physics and math as if there are true answers to the questions we argue about.

So it's not so much a question of what we will do if you grant that there is such a thing as objective morality. The question is what you will do if we grant that there isn't.

If there is no objective morality, then there is nothing to apply.

"
So it's not so much a question of what we will do if you grant that there is such a thing as objective morality. The question is what you will do if we grant that there isn't.If there is no objective morality, then there is nothing to apply."

I just thought that was worth repeating. Sorry WL but I'm putting it in my collection of quotes.

But, just so you know, there IS something for them to apply: the Noble Lie.

Autohypnosis. Deception. Of both the Self and of the child.


"there IS something for them to apply: the Noble Lie."

With the nobility borrowed from a hidden belief in objective morality of course.

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