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Goku

Morality Under God Or Atheism

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1 hour ago, Goku said:

As I told Mike, according to your expressed views of morality, helping people in need or hurting people without good cause are not inherently good or bad actions, at least in the respect of their consequences here on earth in making someone's life better or worse.

So if you have a time machine or the ability to see the future, would that give you an ability to MORALLY kill baby Hitler? Would it be moral of you to NOT kill baby Hitler? THAT is why God has the ability to determine moral decisions for us. He has perfect knowledge and perfect power and perfect holiness. Yeah, I know you don't believe any of that but if you are challenging MY religious view, I am giving it to you.

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Goku... On a scale of 1 to 10 could you please tell me how much of a waste of time it is to try to convert you from your atheism? Have any of ALL of the comments you have read here caused you to move even one digit closer to 10? (Same question to Popoi). I mean that seriously because that will help me judge how much of my time I should spend at this... given the present attitude one of the moderators here has toward me. I have sort of come to the conclusion that there are not that many readers of this forum other than the participants so my time investment depends a lot on how you answer. (Of course I realize you can turn the question on me.)

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1 hour ago, indydave said:

..... I mean that seriously because that will help me judge how much of my time I should spend at this... given the present attitude one of the moderators here has toward me. I have sort of come to the conclusion that there are not that many readers of this forum other than the participants so my time investment depends a lot on how you answer. (Of course I realize you can turn the question on me.)

You have contacted me privately about the moderator matter and I'll respond privately.  This much I do want to state in public .....  

We've been sparring for fifteen years or so now.  Your knowledge of the relevant sciences (yes, plural) is far above that of any creationist I've met in these forums who does not have a formal degree in a scientific discipline (AFAIK).  You have done an exceptionally good job of digging in and learning physics and your research skills are admirable.  For all of that, you have earned my respect.  Our private conversations... in which we've shared considerable personal information ....  have done nothing but reinforce that respect.

 I disagree with you about the readers of this (or any similar) forum.  In my opinion as much as 90% of the readership consists of lurkers.  That's one of the reasons I'm in favor of "splitting" topics, but that's a different matter.  I have wandered around in some of the membership areas and came on something that showed new members.  (I don't remember how I got there and haven't tried again.)  The forum seems to gain new members every few days, even though those who choose to participate in our discussions are rare.

We have no way to know how many, or who reads what we post.  Speaking for myself, I stumbled on the forum when doing research for one of our Brown discussions and lurked for some time before joining and becoming active.  In another situation, a friend from my high school years who I hadn't heard from in 40+ years contacted me out of nowhere because he had read something I'd posted.  Ya just don't know .....

With respect to changing the positions of other participants .....   I've been participating in these forums for more than 25 years.   In that time, I've seen less than a handful of people say they had changed their position as a result of these discussions. I suspect more than one of them was a troll known to me as "Shubi."  Those of us who are most active are (generally) people who have invested a lot of time and research in our current view.  We (yes, including you) are the ones LEAST likely to change our position.   Most of the fence-sitters .... those who are really open to a change of position .... are lurkers.

As for your time, that is of course you to spend as you see fit, but know this .... I continue to learn new things every day.  You are a significant contributor to that.

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Thanks. I hope you recall about a year ago when Mike was very critical of how I was interacting with you and at that time you were not agreeing with him that I was abusive towards you. His meager knowledge about our interaction made him misinterpret how we felt about each other. He has not even read most of what was written in the other thread, and yet he's not reluctant to jump in and arbitrate between you and me without seeing the full context at all. I'm sure that you are inclined to appreciate his moderating me this time but it's pretty hard to take him serving as king over me here. I don't think he is fair to me at all (although I will grant that he was initially reluctant to respond against me when siili complained) and if I get kicked off the site for saying that then so be it.

I have also learned much from you. And I am much more interested in converting an atheist than I am converting a Democrat so maybe it is good that I would focus efforts here (this thread) for now. But there are indeed very serious moral consequences also depending on who gets elected so I feel that efforts in the political arena are justified.

In the past I accepted the idea that we must have tons of readers here because the number of views was increasing quite a bit each day. But I just don't understand why there could be that many views without at least a few of them speaking up once in awhile to encourage those of us who are participating. I think unless some of them will do that I am going to assume they are not there! I think it is more likely that we who write the posts are going back to view and admire or edit our OWN messages multiple times!

Maybe you can do some posts here to help to reply to atheists and we can fight on the same side for a change.

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5 hours ago, indydave said:

(although I will grant that he was initially reluctant to respond against me when siili complained)

I feel I have to to point out that the first case arbitrated between us was not my report, it was somone outside the conversation. That is all.

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IndyDave: I have an issue with Mike right now so until that is resolved and I am not being chastened unfairly by him anymore I will exercise my option to ignore his questions. If I don't respond in a way that pleases him he has his sickle of death aimed at my neck and I'm not going to put up with that here.

I assume you realise that it's likely more than coincidence that in the Audacious thread I only came into the situation AFTER the reports were made? That reports were made about you from three different people and that I also saw the personal attacks you made as personal attacks/ad homs would rather suggest there is some evidence that it is you at fault here. (if four people were accusing me of the same thing, personally I'd listen)

Could it be your judgement isn't perfect? You seem to hold petty grudges and jump to conclusions about peoples motives. Shall we quickly test if your judgement is good then?

You implied that you thought I, "laughed" at a post I didn't laugh at which means you jumped to a conclusion. You also jumped to a conclusion it would seem that Silli reported you the first time if I understand that correctly, yet I didn't divulge who reported you the first time.

Also in this thread you made a similar jump to the conclusion I had, "killed" the thread. That mistake was an example of post hoc ergo propter hoc. (post hoc reasoning) It was merely a weak coincidence whereby you inferred a cause from the coincidence. 

Maybe that's why I'm chosen as moderator, because my judgement isn't foggy, did you think of that as a possibility?

6 hours ago, indydave said:

Maybe you can do some posts here to help to reply to atheists and we can fight on the same side for a change.

I'm absolutely fine with being your scapegoat, as long as you stop personally attacking people.

6 hours ago, indydave said:

He (mike) has not even read most of what was written in the other thread, and yet he's not reluctant to jump in and arbitrate between you and me without seeing the full context at all.

Actually the judgement I made about you in the Audacious thread as my last post there strictly speaking is not a judgement based solely on Piasan's report about yours and his exchange.

So here is another conclusion you have jumped to. The recent comment I made to you which is a request for you to not personally attack people was not a request predicated on Piasan's report. Piasan's report merely indicated to me that there is a pattern-of-behaviour occurring with you that isn't happening with the other posters.

Nobody has reported Piasan's posts anyway. The fact the people you are NOT arguing with have also reported you and the fact you have 3 reports against you by different members, is evidence suggestive of a pattern of behaviour of personal commenting. I looked into those complaints and found direct examples you were personally attacking people.

I then shown before I closed that thread in my last post, examples of comments you made for which I am not happy about, where you were caught red handed directly saying, "you are a this, you are a that."

Here is the forum rule in case you still don't understand;

Ad hominem attacks -- discussions about someone's credentials or character are disallowed unless the exchange necessitates a clear need to point out a problem with a source of the information. Such exceptions shall be few and brief. 

Your conclusion I "haven't read most of what was written" is also a non-sequitur. I have read the exchanges mostly, I just don't participate myself. It is merely that the exchanges have nothing to do with my judgement in that last thread. 

So my actions are not predicated on what you think I should do as moderator, my actions are predicated on what I decide I should do. Did you think I was going to moderate according to your tu-quoque, "if you report me I'll report you" style tactic?

No. This isn't Judge Judy. Just because you WANT the moderator to get into a, "who done it" as a distraction from your behaviour doesn't mean I am going to.

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IndyDave: If I don't respond in a way that pleases him he has his sickle of death aimed at my neck and I'm not going to put up with that here

Right. Because you're beyond reproach, and if anyone dares to come against you, you saying sorry or forgiving people is unacceptable, that stuff is only for Jesus Christ, and he's beneath Dave, right?

(sickled of death =drama queen. Wibble and Goku have had official/unofficial warnings and then they obeyed and it was over and done with, but that's beneath Dave. How dare big ugly nasty mike request him to stop ad-homming and slandering and insulting his opponents!)

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On 5/16/2020 at 10:15 PM, indydave said:
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In order to understand the dynamic between God's nature and morality, this hypothetical where God's nature is different seems like an obvious and natural question.

I think the answer is that God simply is and his nature is his nature. But for us, the reason God's morality should be our own, is tied directly to his ability to give life and to reward or punish. That's all you need to know in order to decide that you should adopt whatever morality God dictates. Of course if you are an atheist that does not apply to you. But you should be doing your very best to determine if it is more likely that God does exist so that you can then try to determine which god/God that might be, especially if there is a God that offers to you eternal life if you are in submission to him. If you don't really care about whether you can have eternal life, then I guess your morality can be purely subjective and then you will have to accept the consequences if you are wrong.

The core of this discussion is morality itself, specifically the justification that God's moral system is the objective standard and thus theists have an edge over atheists/agnostics. If the answer is that it comes from God's nature, and "God simply is and his nature is his nature", that is quite a hollow explanation. It really isn't an explanation or a justification in any meaningful sense.

The "might makes right" argument is fundamentally an argument from authority, which is generally considered a logical fallacy.

The "reward or punish" argument is a blatant "appeal to the stick/carrot", which is again generally considered a logical fallacy.

Perhaps out of practicality and self preservation it would be in my best interest to follow your God's moral system, but that wouldn't mean his moral system is somehow objective, or correct, or even the best out of a subjective sea of options.

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When God says to give to the poor, giving to the poor is not a good act because you are helping the less fortunate, it is *only* a good act because it correlates with God's nature

There are some acts which would be considered moral (by many if not most) whether God exists or not. There are other acts which are morally ambiguous. There may even be a few acts which are considered to be morally wrong by humans but morally right when we consider what God has revealed. (Perhaps the death penalty might fall into this category or the expectation of submission of a wife, for corporal punishment of a child, or "telling a woman what she should do with her own body".) If all you are considering is the reward or punishment of this life then you don't need to be concerned about those moral requirements where man's morality might disagree with God's. 

What I am considering are the verified consequences of our actions on real people in the real world. If you want to challenge that saying you have a better way through God (who may or may not exist, and even if he exists may or may not be the version you subscribe to), yet when I ask for the justification of God's better system all you give me are some logical fallacies and shoulder shrugs in the form of how God and his nature just is what it is, it is not all that convincing.

What I was getting at with my description of your and Mike's expressed beliefs in my quote above, is that most people think certain things are moral irrespective of their religious beliefs, as you say, and helping out the poor is one of those things that most people can get behind. If you ask a normal person *why* it is a good thing you'll probably get a response that can be described as, "the good comes from the consequences felt by real people in the real world."

The point I was making with my quote above, "it is *only* a good act because it correlates with God's nature", is that such justification betrays human instinct to say that the good and bad of our actions comes from the consequences of those actions as it is felt by real people in the real world. Of course, this doesn't mean you and Mike are wrong, but I submit that it behooves us to tread cautiously as we may lose our soul in the process.

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What constrains God's nature to be this way? 

In your mind you could define a god which is evil by our human standards. indeed some have said that some of the acts or commandments of God in the old testament are evil. This is a difficult question but it is a legitimate one which eventually should be answered but I don't think we should go down that road until we first attempt to answer some more basic questions. This God of the Old Testament is simply the standard for morality, if indeed he does exist and if he is the only God. I certainly would admit that if he does not exist there could be some other moral standards. If no God exists at all then humanity is free to define its own morality. If you admit that, then if humanity defines it differently than YOU personally do, such as making it not a moral crime at all to let someone steal your wife for your children, as happens to many of us today, then you have no basis to complain.

As I told Mike, I am not asking for justification of your God's specific actions in the Bible. My question is much more fundamental. I am asking for the justification that God's moral system is ultimately objective/perfect/correct and so on. So far, the responses I've gotten have been underwhelming.

It may all be opinions in the end, but as the saying goes, not all opinions are equal.

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It is objective with respect to man. It comes from outside of man. And it is subjective with respect to God. God does not get his morality from outside of himself. I think that would be true of any ultimate eternal creator who was not himself created.

This comes off as mental gymnastics. God's moral system is subjective for God, but is somehow objective to humans because God is not human. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

We don't say someone else's moral system is objective because it doesn't come from me personally. We don't say the moral system of other animals is objective because it comes from a different species. If we made contact with an alien civilization we would not say their moral system is objective because it comes from outside of man.

As you say, God's morality is subjective as it comes from and is contained within his thinking process; it cannot be derived from looking at cold, hard reality. I do not think it logically follows that just because God is not human his moral system is therefore objective.

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It is certainly true that other moral systems can be developed outside of the God of the Bible and they may arrive at the same positions much of the time. It can be merely a coincidence if man's idea of what is moral is the same as God's some of the time. What as an atheist you need to try to rationalize is why is it that man has a moral nature AT ALL? Can you say that all animals have that kind of a moral nature? Or even that some of them do? Why would any human ever come to a conclusion that the right thing to do might be something that is actually contrary to his own self-interest? How does that fit with evolution? Why shouldn't humanity agree that if you can get away with it, then stealing from someone else, especially if it is a corporation and not an individual, would be perfectly fine to do? Obviously there are many humans who think that is the case. And there are also many who would say it is true even if it is some individual, if that individual is richer than you are. And there are even some who would say it is true if that individual is NOT richer than you are!

This is actually an easy question to answer. We as a species accomplish more when we cooperate and work together. Why would I want to cooperate and work with you if I have no assurance that you won't try to screw me over or steal my stuff? A moral nature helps facilitate and maintain cooperation between individuals, which can be a big survival/evolutionary advantage.

As for doing things that go against our own self-interest, this too can be explained through evolution. Individuals DO NOT evolve, populations do. That which makes the population/species stronger is advantageous, even if it comes at a cost to the individual.

Other animals don't have as big a brain as we do, so there aren't as many neurons to delve into the nuances that we can, but some animals do have a rudimentary moral system. The concept of fairness seems to be extremely fundamental and widespread throughout social animals (at least among the mammals).

As for why we shouldn't go around stealing stuff even if we can get away with it, I proposes that a much more satisfying answer, even if it doesn't answer all the questions, would be to look at things like fairness and empathy, rather than your proposal of go with whatever the baddest dude on the block thinks.

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So, it would seem, by definition, in the way you have expressed yourself, God's morality is God's subjective perspective.

Why is that a problem? He made you and he is the ultimate giver of life or death when we leave this earth. Why SHOULDN'T he be the subjective determiner of what is good or bad? Yes this is somewhat Machiavellian, but we are very blessed that our God actually loves us and wants the best for us!

If God's morality is subjective, then that would mean it is not objective, and we are back at square one for justifying why theists have an edge over nonbelievers as you asserted in the other thread starting this discussion.

For me, if there is some ultimate, cosmic, objective morality, then by definition it cannot ultimately come from God. God may, for whatever reason, perfectly embody or emulate this objective morality and may be the source of humanity's knowledge of this objective morality. However, I do not think it follows that just because there is a God that God automatically adheres to this objective morality.

Your theme on why God's moral system is correct is because of God's power to reward and punish us. This is not a reason for why God's moral system is good, let alone why his moral system is objective or perfect or correct. It is a reason to obey, out of our own self-interest. Going on real-world examples power tends to corrupt, and as the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. God may be an exception to the saying, but that is not an axiom I share. I think it would be wise to be skeptical of the argument that because an entity is more powerful he is therefore morally superior.

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I'll agree. It would be jumping the gun to ask any atheist to abide by biblical morals. I don't know of any Christian who would disagree with that. Of course whether you are an atheist or not you will be subject to the criminal justice system wherever you might live. But in the USA that won't help you a bit if that rich guy decides to run off with your wife and leaves you squirming in the dust. If he and your wife came to you and asked you to explain why they should not do that, you wouldn't have anything you could say, would you? (Let's assume no children are involved.)

And your response would be the big kahuna Yahweh says that you shouldn't do that, and Yahweh is right because he hits the gym harder than anyone else. That may be figurative language on my part to make a point, but in essence that is exactly what you are saying.

Again, while it may not give us all the answers, I propose that trying to work out these moral issues with reason and appealing to things like fairness and empathy, and in this case keeping your word/vows, is a much more satisfying road to take both intellectually and spiritually than what you are proposing.

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Have you ever considered the possibility that Christianity is just another group convinced they are correct?

Of course. Anyone with a brain would say that is a possibility! What is your point? You are convinced YOU are right, so why are you pointing a finger of accusation toward Christians who think that THEY are right? Our thinking it or your thinking it does not make either of us right! When this life is over we may or may not have a consciousness. If we DO, then you had better hope that you made decisions in this life that would please whoever your creator is!

If you follow the conversation, Mike was saying how it is amusing on the sidelines watching everyone claim they are correct. I may have misunderstood Mike's meaning, but my point was that Christians and Christianity are in the same boat; just another faction convinced they are right. IOW, I was saying the pot is calling the kettle black.

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I may be missing your point, but my answer would be that God's morality is certainly objective with respect to humanity just like I could say that your personal morality is objective with respect to me personally. If there were multiple gods and the god of the Bible happened to have created us, then it might be possible to say that his morality was subjective with respect to other gods...I suppose. Humanity, if it is created by any God, may very well have a morality imposed on it from that God. If deism is correct then the Creator may not care whether we murder each other or not. If deism is NOT correct, then the Creator HAS moral expectations of us and we need to try to determine if that Creator has revealed them to us...and try to adhere to them.

But that's not really objective morality; not in any meaningful sense. All it really means is that God is a different entity than myself just as you are a different entity to Mike. We might as well ask why my objective morality to you is worse than the objective morality of God? The use of "objective" is meaningless and adds nothing.

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So? if God created you and he has the power to reward you with life or punishment, and if he has defined for you what his own standards of morality are, what difference is it to you whether that is his own subjective standard, or if it is some kind of objective standard that he has adopted for himself? Regardless, he can and he does impose his morality system on you and if he exists, and if the Bible is his word, it reveals to us that your eternal fate depends on whether you have adopted his morality code and complied with his terms of forgiveness. You need to recognize that and get yourself in compliance while you still have time!

Again, this is a reason to obey out of self interest. It is not a reason why it is objective in some perfect, ultimate, cosmic way.

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I agree. There are some things such as human slavery which seem to be evil to many humans, but not all, which the Bible indicates at least during that time period was not intrinsically evil. (However God does have standards for how a master should treat a slave, so please try to make that distinction.) There are also things which are considered to be good by many humans that God does not consider to be good. Abortion or divorce would be examples. We should not expect there to be perfect alignment between God's morality and what humans tend to think of as being moral.

I wrote a response about the standards God had for slavery, but decided it would be too distracting from the main topic of how God's moral system is justified and why atheists/agnostics have a harder time justifying their moral system than theists. And yes, I am aware I brought up the slavery topic when responding to Mike, and I did it just to say that if the justification for God's moral system is that it is so obviously correct in getting rid of all immorality (as Mike more or less said), I don't think it is as obvious as you might think.

All I'll say for now is that the standards are not all sunshine and rainbows, that many Christians have romanticized the standards into something it never was, and it doesn't address the fundamental issue of literally owning another human being as property.

We probably shouldn't expect there to be perfect alignment between God's morality and our own, but I think if we look at the Bible with unbiased eyes the morality preached doesn't jump off the page as sage advice from a transcendent being, but the various thoughts of humans being human; the good, bad, and bizarre.

 

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10 hours ago, indydave said:
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I find your qualifier of "NOT your child" to be interesting. Why do you make this exception with your "might makes right" objective moral system?

Because humans are not animals. And because we do not create humans when we make a baby, however you can say that humans make livestock in the same way that they make corn. Of course God is the ultimate maker, but a human can rightly decide the fate of his livestock. It is moral for him to do that. IF God exists, then it is moral for him to determine the fate of his Creation and to dictate what is moral.

One, humans are animals. Two, even if we are somehow special how does that change the "might makes right" axiom? Three, I'm pretty sure when we make a baby we are creating another human; "make" and "create" are synonyms, at least in my head, as well as "baby" and "human" in this context. 

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I am not saying that someone who does not believe there is a Creator cannot invent their own morality system, but it is not an objective system. It is SUBJECTIVE, produced from within the human system.

What I am saying is that even if God exists, God's morality would inherently be subjective just as our morality is. Unless, there is some ultimate, cosmic, objective moral system out there apart from God that God, for whatever reason, perfectly embodies or emulates. In either case, objective morality is not tied to God. And, if objectively morality exists you do not need God, at least in theory, to discover this objective moral system.

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Because "in my religion" there is someone above the parents who has greater power and authority. It is as if a farmer is a steward for an owner of the farm. The buck does not stop with the steward.

Just to be clear, in your system of morality the amount of moral authority is not distributed proportionally between those who have power, but it is a winner take all system? (Ties in power may be distributed evenly or figuratively decided with a coin toss.)

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Yes of course. And I will go one step further and say if there was some being who has equal in power to God then we would have to decide which moral system weed should follow and that might come down to a coin toss if they are exactly equal. 

This seems to fly in the face of any meaningful concept of objective morality.

This seems to confirm the argument from authority, which is generally considered a logical fallacy.

Maybe this comes down to a fundamental disconnect in our thinking. I simply do not understand how a moral system can be called objective in any meaningful sense just because the entity that proposes it has "power". For me, at a fundamental level, morality is not derived from who has power, but from the consequences of our actions.

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I have an issue with Mike right now so until that is resolved and I am not being chastened unfairly by him anymore I will exercise my option to ignore his questions. If I don't respond in a way that pleases him he has his sickle of death aimed at my neck and I'm not going to put up with that here.

Just to play some Mikey-type mischief myself: Mike has the power in this forum, and so by your own system of morality Mike is right by definition.  ;) 

 

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I deleted my post because since I've "stepped away" from the thread and am not reading the context as much as I therefore should it would be best not to comment or I may provoke, "angry Goku" and misapply something to him. :D Since I don't want to read through and catch up I'll step out now.

(But yes, you slightly misunderstood by what I said about watching relative groups fight that their view is absolutely the correct one. The point is the power of their conviction stands as no basis for their, "moral" code, because being outraged and red in the face only affords someone an argument from outrage fallacy. But that is totally different for a Christian because the morality we expound is NOT coming from our emotions but from the word of God, and the God that makes not mistakes and is always morally right.)

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16 hours ago, Goku said:

The "might makes right" argument is fundamentally an argument from authority, which is generally considered a logical fallacy.

Oh no it isn't... Not in a courtroom when someone points to the authority of a statute or the Constitution. And it isn't even a fallacy if you use it properly in argumentation. If you refer to a dictionary definition or if you find some true expert who can speak authoritatively about some subject, that is GOOD argumentation. And I will concede that I cannot bring God into the courtroom to show you. I can show you some evidences for a fair-minded person to consider, that he does exist. And that the Bible is indeed his word and it reveals the morality that your creator wants you to have. I don't claim that this is the only kind of morality that exists on Earth. There are other gods in the minds of people and there are morality systems in the minds of people who have no god/God at all. You being one. And I don't really claim to have an edge necessarily on you if indeed God does not exist. But if he DOES exist I do have a very significant edge on you.

 

17 hours ago, Goku said:

Perhaps out of practicality and self preservation it would be in my best interest to follow your God's moral system, but that wouldn't mean his moral system is somehow objective, or correct, or even the best out of a subjective sea of options.

I will agree, if indeed he does not exist. My morality is subjective if he does not exist but it is objective and correct if he DOES exist. So this is a pretty pointless discussion in my opinion. I hope you will agree that if he does exist then his morality is indeed objective with respect to humanity. If he is only one of multiple gods then someone might say that his morality is only his own subjective morality. But if he is indeed the Creator then that would be a wrong thing to say about his morality. If he is indeed the Creator than his morality is the only one that matters and it is indeed objective relative to humanity.

You wrote a whole lot and I will probably try to respond to all of it but not right now. I think it would make sense to see whether you see any point of agreement in what I just now wrote.

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17 hours ago, Goku said:

And your response would be the big kahuna Yahweh says that you shouldn't do that, and Yahweh is right because he hits the gym harder than anyone else.

I'd like to ask that you not be gratuitously insulting of something as precious as someone else's religion. You can admonish me also if you catch me insulting another one's deity. I don't know if there is a rule against this sort of thing on this list but I would think common decency would call for a different manner of speaking regarding a deity even if you are not agreeing that he exists. It certainly won't be something I will put up with so if you want interaction with me that has to change.

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On 5/21/2020 at 6:24 AM, indydave said:

I'd like to ask that you not be gratuitously insulting of something as precious as someone else's religion. You can admonish me also if you catch me insulting another one's deity. I don't know if there is a rule against this sort of thing on this list but I would think common decency would call for a different manner of speaking regarding a deity even if you are not agreeing that he exists. It certainly won't be something I will put up with so if you want interaction with me that has to change.

Yes it would be better if Goku could have worded that differently. Sometimes, "Yahweh" can be regarded as the name of God, I am not totally sure if it is the unutterable name but obviously the Lord is precious to those who believe in Him.

I appreciate the humour part, "big kahuna" was funny but, "hits the gym harder than most" really tickled me, because how can God hit the gym? I admit the humour was very funny grade A mischief from Goku :D and I know Goku was really mocking the reasoning of, "might=correct", so I don't think he intended to mock the Lord by saying it but it would be better if you could phrase it hypothetically, Goku.

Sometimes it can be easy to forget that although we don't wear hats on our heads as Christians or turbans or any outward sign, we can be overlooked and disrespected more. Goodness knows how much the politicans kiss the arse of Muslims for example, and walk on egg shells around them. Yet people even use the name, "Jesus Christ" as a curse, and if you complain they'd probably just get aggressive with you and start cursing you out. But if someone wearing a turban came into your house or whatever, would anyone say, "Allah's beard" or anything like that? No, but they'd walk on eggshells. 

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On 5/20/2020 at 3:53 AM, indydave said:

Goku... On a scale of 1 to 10 could you please tell me how much of a waste of time it is to try to convert you from your atheism? Have any of ALL of the comments you have read here caused you to move even one digit closer to 10? (Same question to Popoi). I mean that seriously because that will help me judge how much of my time I should spend at this... given the present attitude one of the moderators here has toward me. I have sort of come to the conclusion that there are not that many readers of this forum other than the participants so my time investment depends a lot on how you answer. (Of course I realize you can turn the question on me.)

In my case, some people here have pushed me even further away from christianity. 

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5 hours ago, Perpetual_student said:

In my case, some people here have pushed me even further away from christianity. 

Moderator Comment: No more of this please. (You have been issued a warning you only seem to come to these forums to troll Christians, as your last few posts in the last day or so have been aimed AT THEM or their motives with no actual discussion content in your posts.)

Please start discussing the topics not the person/s.

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1 hour ago, mike the wiz said:

Moderator Comment: No more of this please. (You have been issued a warning you only seem to come to these forums to troll Christians, as your last few posts in the last day or so have been aimed AT THEM or their motives with no actual discussion content in your posts.)

Please start discussing the topics not the person/s.

So, you are going to use your newly acquired mod powers to retaliate against those who show you are wrong. That's very christian and very brave.

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34 minutes ago, Perpetual_student said:

So, you are going to use your newly acquired mod powers to retaliate against those who show you are wrong. That's very christian and very brave.

The following are disallowed

Ruke 13.Complaining about board moderation.

You have also just attacked the person yet again right after a moderator asked you to stop doing it by FALSELY asserting what my motives are.

I believe this is a deliberate attempt to go against my request. You now have 2 official warnings, strike 3 and you're out.

(So now the readers/members know that if your next post is not a post that is to do with the topic but again is something about the person or me, then you have deliberately chosen to disobey despite two warnings.)

In other words, it's totally within your own power as to whether you are banned, since you have the option to obey and simply discuss the topic like everyone else is. It should be noted, IndyDave, Wibble, Goku and Blitzking have all been warned but were mature enough to comply, and no action was taken against them.

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On 5/19/2020 at 9:47 PM, indydave said:

So if you have a time machine or the ability to see the future, would that give you an ability to MORALLY kill baby Hitler? Would it be moral of you to NOT kill baby Hitler? THAT is why God has the ability to determine moral decisions for us. He has perfect knowledge and perfect power and perfect holiness. Yeah, I know you don't believe any of that but if you are challenging MY religious view, I am giving it to you.

This all started when you said that Christians have an edge in morality over atheists. I'm just trying to figure out why. So far, in a nutshell (feel free to just respond to this post for brevity's sake), I've been told that it's because God has some objective morality that comes from his nature. But, no one can tell me where his nature comes from or why this gives God objective morality; "it is what it is" is what I'm told. I don't find that a satisfying answer, and I highly doubt you would find it a satisfying answer if someone tried that on you with their God; Allah is good and perfect because he just is.

You also tell me that it is objective morality because God is not human; his morality comes from outside human thought. I don't think it logically follows that because a moral system comes from something other than a human it is therefore objective in any meaningful sense to the discussion. The way you use the word objective we can say that God's morality and Satan's morality are both objective. If both Satan's morality and God's morality are both objective, then what kind of objective moral framework are you really proposing here? When you can use language that broadly I don't see how it is useful or meaningful.

As for your Hitler example, knowledge about Hitler may inform you on which action to take, but it doesn't tell you which action to take or why it is moral. IOW, if you kill Hitler to save millions, that knowledge alone doesn't justify why saving those millions of lives is the moral thing to do. If saving those lives is the right thing to do just because it is, then it would seem God has no role in determining objective morality.

As for the "power" argument, it is a reason to obey out of self preservation, not a justification for why it is objective in any meaningful sense.

On 5/21/2020 at 1:24 AM, indydave said:

I'd like to ask that you not be gratuitously insulting of something as precious as someone else's religion. You can admonish me also if you catch me insulting another one's deity. I don't know if there is a rule against this sort of thing on this list but I would think common decency would call for a different manner of speaking regarding a deity even if you are not agreeing that he exists. It certainly won't be something I will put up with so if you want interaction with me that has to change.

As Mike said I was making fun of your argument, not your God. I don't know if it is a technical reductio ad absurdum, but it is similar. You say it is all about power. Fine. If we take "hitting the gym" as a proxy for "power", then logically in your system of morality whoever "hits the gym the hardest" is the most powerful and thus has the best moral system. God is the most powerful, and so in a tongue and cheek way I describe God as hitting the gym the hardest. I admit it isn't the most dignified picture and it is meant to be comically absurd, but it is to drive home a serious criticism of your expressed moral system.

It is rationally absurd to think that just because someone pumps iron and gets swole that they have a superior moral system. We don't settle disputes of morality by whoever can bench the most; it sounds more like the premise of a bad comedy than a serious attempt at navigating the moral landscape. Yet, that is exactly what you are telling me. You can switch out raw muscle strength with military might, political influence, economic power, psychological manipulation, whatever you want, even the power to offer you eternal life or eternal damnation, the logic is the same.

On 5/21/2020 at 1:10 AM, indydave said:

Oh no it isn't... Not in a courtroom when someone points to the authority of a statute or the Constitution. And it isn't even a fallacy if you use it properly in argumentation. If you refer to a dictionary definition or if you find some true expert who can speak authoritatively about some subject, that is GOOD argumentation.

You are mixing up two fundamentally different things. Namely, the internal systems used to determine if someone is guilty or innocent within a given internal system, versus whether or not something is morally correct because an authority figure said it. When the court uses the law all they are really doing is saying if a defendant's actions are permissible or prohibited by the law, which is logically valid. However, it would not then follow that the law is morally correct because now we are introducing an external element known as morality. I suppose we could define morality as whatever the law is, but that would then mean we are talking about a subjective moral system, which would kind of defeat the purpose of the claim that this morality is objectively superior to other systems of morality.

Same thing with God. It is logically valid to use God's law to determine if someone is in compliance with God's law (as earthly courts do all the time with earthly laws), and in such a case using the authoritative source of God's law is logically valid. However, it doesn't then follow that God's law is morally correct. As with the earthly court scenario, we could define morality as whatever God's law is, but like before that would mean we are talking about a subjective moral system unless there is some other argument/reason for it being objective.

Quote

And I will concede that I cannot bring God into the courtroom to show you. I can show you some evidences for a fair-minded person to consider, that he does exist. And that the Bible is indeed his word and it reveals the morality that your creator wants you to have. I don't claim that this is the only kind of morality that exists on Earth. There are other gods in the minds of people and there are morality systems in the minds of people who have no god/God at all. You being one. And I don't really claim to have an edge necessarily on you if indeed God does not exist. But if he DOES exist I do have a very significant edge on you.

I think you misunderstand. Throughout this entire thread I have not only been working under the assumption that God is real, but that this God is YOUR God.

Of course there's a multitude of moral systems in the world, and I don't doubt that you think other moral systems exist. What I am asking you to do is to justify the concept that God's morality is the objective moral system of reality, and by extension justify your assertion that atheists have an edge over theists when it comes to morality.

Quote

Goku... On a scale of 1 to 10 could you please tell me how much of a waste of time it is to try to convert you from your atheism? Have any of ALL of the comments you have read here caused you to move even one digit closer to 10? (Same question to Popoi). I mean that seriously because that will help me judge how much of my time I should spend at this... given the present attitude one of the moderators here has toward me. I have sort of come to the conclusion that there are not that many readers of this forum other than the participants so my time investment depends a lot on how you answer. (Of course I realize you can turn the question on me.) 

Long story short I grew up in a Christian household. We weren't super devout, but I think we took it more seriously than most. Starting in high school and throughout the early years of university I became more serious about my faith; I even co-founded a Christian ministry that ended up getting government funding. Over the next few years doubts started to creep in. When my faith was at the end of the rope I prayed to God every night to reveal himself to me, and every night I got the same response: nothing. After doing that for a week or two you kind of just feel silly doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different response. Eventually, I just moved on. The way I see it, if there is a God out there listening to prayers wanting to have a relationship, I knocked on his door for years. The ball is in his court; he knows where to find me if he ever decides to answer.

So in terms of attempting to convert me, I like to believe I have an open mind, but given my background and the fact that dozens of evangelical types have tried to convert me back into the fold since my deconversion with little to negative success (I don't think Perpetual Student was trolling but was being genuine in his response), I'd say the probabilities are bleak.

As for who reads the forums, there are 74 "guests" listed as online right now as I type this. I think the forum gets more traffic than you realize.

 

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3 hours ago, Goku said:

This all started when you said that Christians have an edge in morality over atheists. I'm just trying to figure out why. about a subjective moral system unless there is s

Merely because of 'The Grace' that 'We' have received through "Jesus Christ", as 'Our Morality' will be "Justly Rewarded'.. 

'We' contemplate and justify 'Our Morality' daily for "Our Christ Sake"....

Knowing that when 'Our' race is completed 'We' shall reap our 'Promised Rewards'....

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1 hour ago, KillurBluff said:

Merely because of 'The Grace' that 'We' have received through "Jesus Christ", as 'Our Morality' will be "Justly Rewarded'.. 

'We' contemplate and justify 'Our Morality' daily for "Our Christ Sake"....

Knowing that when 'Our' race is completed 'We' shall reap our 'Promised Rewards'...

Amen.

However I would ADD friend, that we don't do it for the reward. But because it pleases God, as we have His spirit and so righteous acts are naturally pleasing to those who share in the "new nature". It's the fruit of the spirit isn't it KB? Whereby those natural things from God flow from the heart in those who truly believe; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc....the love of God being the chief of the fruits IMHO.

I say this because it seems easy to anticipate that Goku would counter by saying, "but if you're doing it for a reward, we do things because they are right, not for a reward".

That is a popular atheist comeback because of their ignorance about our motives when we refer to "rewards". 

But I think you refer more to the wisdom of reaping what you sew. Sewing to the flesh reaps a mess, sewing to the spirit leads to peace and blessing. Not that the natural and true morality that comes from God is done for a reward because so many times in tithes and offerings for example I have given when I have little and it almost makes me sigh to go the extra mile, and I done it not thinking I would be rewarded but very quickly God gave me back much more. 

That's happened so many times now that only idiots or fools would believe it coincidence. I'm sure you could say the same KB. 

And of course we do the right thing merely BECAUSE it is right and good

(the blue highlight is me anticipating and blocking Goku's chess moves.)

:) 

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4 hours ago, mike the wiz said:

love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.

And of course we do the right thing merely BECAUSE it is right and good

(the blue highlight is me anticipating and blocking Goku's chess moves.)

:) 

To get to the fundamental question, *why* are those things right and good?

If they are just the right and good things because they are, then wouldn't that imply they would be the right and good things whether or not God exists?

Quote

However I would ADD friend, that we don't do it for the reward.

I say this because it seems easy to anticipate that Goku would counter by saying, "but if you're doing it for a reward, we do things because they are right, not for a reward".

Then you fundamentally misunderstand the point of my questions in this thread. It's not about which faction is better, but *where* morals ultimately come from.

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4 hours ago, mike the wiz said:

Amen.

However I would ADD friend, that we don't do it for the reward. But because it pleases God, as we have His spirit and so righteous acts are naturally pleasing to those who share in the "new nature". It's the fruit of the spirit isn't it KB? Whereby those natural things from God flow from the heart in those who truly believe; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc....the love of God being the chief of the fruits IMHO.

I say this because it seems easy to anticipate that Goku would counter by saying, "but if you're doing it for a reward, we do things because they are right, not for a reward".

That is a popular atheist comeback because of their ignorance about our motives when we refer to "rewards". 

But I think you refer more to the wisdom of reaping what you sew. Sewing to the flesh reaps a mess, sewing to the spirit leads to peace and blessing. Not that the natural and true morality that comes from God is done for a reward because so many times in tithes and offerings for example I have given when I have little and it almost makes me sigh to go the extra mile, and I done it not thinking I would be rewarded but very quickly God gave me back much more. 

That's happened so many times now that only idiots or fools would believe it coincidence. I'm sure you could say the same KB. 

And of course we do the right thing merely BECAUSE it is right and good

(the blue highlight is me anticipating and blocking Goku's chess moves.)

:) 

:farmer::yoda::banana_vacation:

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38 minutes ago, Goku said:

To get to the fundamental question, *why* are those things right and good?

Because God is righteous, they're good because God's nature is good and right, always. By definition. 

 

38 minutes ago, Goku said:

If they are just the right and good things because they are, then wouldn't that imply they would be the right and good things whether or not God exists?

I think you're complicating it though. We innately know because we are made in God's image, why something is right and good. 

So then that we have the knowledge implies they exist. Everyone passed my earlier test, even people in prison would pass my test. But why is that if morality is not there?

Let's think, humans know things animals don't, and morality is one of them, yet people say, "it's relative", but we wouldn't say maths or logic or science is relative. 

I favour this implication;

If God did not exist, we wouldn't be aware of morality like this (everyone knowing my test answers)

But we do know it, therefore God does exist.

It's something that fits with being made in God's image. 

The knowledge of good and evil (moral/immorality), existed with God before anything immoral every happened. So then if God does not exist we would expect to be the same as all the other animals.

A dog won't stop to ask permission to take a steak off your plate. Nor will a cat. Neither are they on a laptop. Sure, they don't have fingers but there is no capacity within them either to ever understand these things. 

38 minutes ago, Goku said:

Then you fundamentally misunderstand the point of my questions in this thread. It's not about which faction is better, but *where* morals ultimately come from.

Well, they come from God's perfect nature but the point in my post was to DISSUADE those potential atheistic-style comebacks with a ho, ho, don't you know, Horatio, wash and go.

(You should know by now the toad seldom misunderstands) ;) 

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On 5/20/2020 at 6:38 AM, mike the wiz said:

I looked into those complaints and found direct examples you were personally attacking people

 And when the owner looked into my complaint about you, he shot down your criticism of me.

 

On 5/20/2020 at 8:27 AM, Goku said:

Just to play some Mikey-type mischief myself: Mike has the power in this forum, and so by your own system of morality Mike is right by definition.  ;) 

Nah...a high priest does not have the ultimate power from on high. A steward is not the landowner.

I do want to tip my hat that he defended me (or maybe himself...PS was writing in reply to me but he may have had someone besides me in mind) against the charge made by Perpetual. He didn't have to do that, so I appreciate that.

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On 5/25/2020 at 8:39 AM, Goku said:

The way I see it, if there is a God out there listening to prayers wanting to have a relationship, I knocked on his door for years. The ball is in his court; he knows where to find me if he ever decides to answer

He asked me to answer for him, and I've knocked on YOUR door for years. But he gave me strict instructions that there should be a limit to the knocking... as I'm sure you know (regarding pearls.)

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On 5/25/2020 at 5:50 PM, mike the wiz said:

A dog won't stop to ask permission to take a steak off your plate. Nor will a cat. Neither are they on a laptop. Sure, they don't have fingers but there is no capacity within them either to ever understand these things. 

I am not trying to weaken your argument but maybe you would want to strengthen it. I believe I have seen a dog that will not take steak or any food unless it's owner gives it permission to take it. If the owner says wait, it will wait until it gets permission.

 

On 5/20/2020 at 8:27 AM, Goku said:

One, humans are animals.

I suppose it depends on how you define the term. We do have similarities to animals, especially the higher ones. But the question is are we ONLY animals. You say yes and I say no. And neither of us can prove it one way or the other in an absolute way. If God has not revealed his will to us, then I have no basis to say we are not only animals. The only way I know that I have a soul or that I may possibly live beyond this life is because it has been revealed from a reliable source.

So what's your answer to my question, Goku? Is it true that with all of the efforts made here, you have not moved even one digit (in 10) away from your conversion to atheism? 

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