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March 02, 2015


Good points except for the first one. Stating it as you did presupposes that there are innocent human beings. There are not. All of us deserve death. Even if there were innocent people, committing suicide would make someone no longer innocent and create a logical conundrum: if they are no longer innocent then they are innocent. If they are innocent, then they are no longer innocent.

It's better to tie it to the command of God not to murder, which has objective biblical support, without commenting on whether someone is innocent, which imports a subjective condition not found in the Bible - no matter how you want to parse "innocent'.

A few points:

1) The "justified" taking of a life – such as in, say, stopping this or that person from raping this or that 12 year old girl – finds moral merit – that is to say – that category of merit *actually* exists in a world such as ours (in some metaphysical paradigms, but not in others).

2) "Justified" here begs the question but it is to that which Alan's approach seems very helpful – in the "inherent" vs. "instrumental" paradigms and final (necessary) presuppositions about a man’s life. Notice that the “inherent value” paradigm does not offend or contradict #1 above. In fact, without Alan’s paradigm, #1 above finally loses any and all “ontic-need” of (actual) “justification”.

3) Suicide is not "the" nor is it "a" unforgivable sin - there is nothing in Scripture to suggest this. No one need take serious any Christian who tries to assert such. The taking of a life – of a Christian life (the Temple of God, and so on) or of a non-Christian life (not such a Temple, and so on) or of any person’s life period – is what it is – but it is not the unforgivable. It is not “less bad” to (unjustifiably) take the life of a non-Christian than the life of a Christian. Temple-hood does not get us to “that ontic-stopping-point”.

4) The Christian who asserts such ontic-refuse (unforgiveable sin etc.) to the families who remain are doing the work of sin - that is to say - there is a Good and that Christian is – on some level somewhere – dismantling said Good.

5) Divine Command Theory alone fails to capture the whole-show that is morality. The key word there being “alone”, as in, such is “the” ontic-stopping-point for morality.

To quote from the linked essay, “….. Let me explain. I’ll begin by making a point I’m sure Keith will agree with. Many theists and atheists alike suppose that to link morality to religion is to claim that we could have no reason to be moral if we did not anticipate punishments and rewards in an afterlife. I am sure Keith would reject such a line of argument, and I reject it too. To do or refrain from doing something merely because one seeks a reward or fears reprisals is not morality. I would also reject the related but distinct claim that what makes an action morally good or bad is merely that God has commanded it, as if goodness and badness were a matter of sheer fiat on the part of a cosmic dictator who has the power to impose his will on everyone else. This too would not really be morality at all, but just Saddam Hussein writ large. So, I reject crude divine command theories of morality. That is one reason I think it is not quite right to claim that there can be no justification of morality if atheism were true; or at least, what (probably) most people understand by that claim is, in my view, false. Crude divine command theories simply get morality wrong. They get God wrong too.”

To properly close the loop on that first link:

Naturalism’s approach to Ought, or to the Good, in its attempt to define such by any sort of posited ”The Largest Portion of Man’s Intuitional Bell Curve Makes Right” sort of framework eventually fails to find the categorical imperative to which reason is obligated. Such a statistical bell-curve appeal to “intuitions” tending towards “flourishing” on the basis of a pure evolutionary morality housed in feelings fails for many reasons, many of which are touched on in the linked essays. Whereas, God grants such final causes, and, let us add – love’s ceaseless reciprocity there amid Self/Other – there in Trinity – there in what just is the immutable love of the Necessary Being – finds Man’s unavoidable moral landscape unavoidably emerging.

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