Atheists angry at God?

Anger at God is nothing new. In the Hebrew Bible, anger goes back at least as far as Abraham, who, … Continued

Anger at God is nothing new.

In the Hebrew Bible, anger goes back at least as far as Abraham, who, according to Genesis 18:23, was angry at God for God’s readiness to destroy the innocent people of Sodom along with those who were guilty. One could also argue that it goes back even farther, to the story of Cain found in Genesis 4:5. But however far back the notion of getting angry at God can be traced, it is also the topic of a newly released study by Case Western Reserve University psychologist, Julie Exline.

Among the most interesting findings in Exline’s study are the place of anger at God in the lives of self-declared atheists, and also the compatibility of simultaneous angry and positive feelings about God. I mention positive feelings and not faith because by definition, if one is angry at God, one clearly has faith in the existence of God. Was that not the case, at whom is one angry? That returns us to the first finding about non-believers and their anger at God.

Self-declared atheists, according to the study, not only report getting angry at God, but report higher levels of anger than that experienced by believers. How does that work? Why bother being angry at something which one doesn’t believe even exists?

Some believers will rush to proclaim that this is proof of the old adage about there being no atheists in foxholes i.e. that when things get bad, we all realize that there is a God and seek that connection, even if it’s one established through anger. That weak connection to God when things go bad may be true, but it certainly doesn’t prove anything about the existence of God or the wisdom of believing that God exists.

Perhaps there is a God and perhaps there is not. While extremists on both sides of this debate hate to admit it, there is proof for neither conclusion. What this study tells us is that there is a human desire to express outrage at the existence of evil and tragedy. There appears to be a need to ascribe authorship and even will on the part of that author, when we experience tough times.

That need transcends the philosophical categories in which we often place ourselves, showing us that such categorizations are of limited use. In fact, while it does not appear that the study’s finding are broken down by levels of attachment to one’s atheism, my guess is that all but the most fanatical among them find themselves getting angry at the God they were certain didn’t exist five minutes before the trauma which provoked the anger occurred. That in turn brings us to the second finding.

Anger at God and faith/positive feelings about God is entirely compatible. The notion that belief in God demands calm acceptance of everything that comes our way is simply absurd. That approach may serve some people well but clearly, most of us can hold together faith and anger at the same time and telling people otherwise betrays our own inner spiritual wisdom.

I appreciate that for some theologians one ought never to be angry at God because that anger represents rage against that which, by definition, by virtue of coming from God, is good and just. Those theologians belong alongside the atheists who insist that anger at God makes no sense and so it has no place in the life of a “good atheists.” They all insist that philosophical consistency is more important than meaningful, usable spirituality. In other words, they put ideas before people, which is always a bad idea, whether it is done in the name of God or no God.

Believers get angry because whatever God may be out there deserves our anger, if that God is the author of our suffering. Our insistence that things need not simply be as they are affirms God’s existence, at least in the mind of the believer, and calls that God to a new level of relationship.

Anger at God, dissatisfaction with the state of the world or the shape of our lives is not only compatible with faith; it is an act of faith. From Abraham to Moses to Jesus and Muhammad, realizing the unacceptability of the status quo, not simply accepting it as God’s will, was the spark which lit the fuse of a new spiritual explosion.

Exline’s study contains many interesting revelations and insights, but none more important than these two, at least not when it comes to a world often bitterly divided between atheists and religionists. This study shows that almost all of us are more complex than those reductive categories. It shows us that what we really need are atheists who are comfortable with anger at God as a kind belief, however momentary it may be, and religionists who admit that anger at God is not only possible, but is itself a necessary component in any healthy relationship with the God in whom they may believe.

About

Brad Hirschfield An acclaimed author, lecturer, rabbi, and commentator on religion, society and pop culture, Brad Hirschfield offers a unique perspective on the American spiritual landscape and political and social trends to audiences nationwide.
  • WmarkW

    I’m an atheist, and don’t hate God any more than I hate my sister.I don’t have a sister.But it does make me angry when people ascribe variations of luck to the choice of an intelligence. No child deserves to be stillborn based on their parent’s moral values. And anyone who thinks an earthquake was sent to Haiti as a punishment for practicing voodoo, really needs to explain why Treblinka wasn’t destroyed by lightning.

  • ThomasBaum

    Brad Hirschfield You wrote, “Perhaps there is a God and perhaps there is not. While extremists on both sides of this debate hate to admit it, there is proof for neither conclusion.”I would like to ask you a simple question: Why do you consider me an “extremist” just because I say that I “know” that God Is?There are some who just consider me psychotic and/or delusional while others think I’m a heretic yet you go with “extremist”, could you explain? I have said many times that I “know” that God Is for the simple reason that it was God Who revealed to me that God Is and I have also pointed out many times that many do not seem to know that the words (know and believe) do not mean the same thing.I have said many times on here that I have no “proof” and I have also stated that it will be God, not me, Who will supply the “proof” and God will supply this “proof” in due time, God’s Time.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    If one were to believe in God and I mean a God Who created absolutely everything out of absolutely nothing and one also believed that satan is real, than one would have to come to the conclusion that God created satan.If one were to believe in God and also believed in pre-destination and that God gave us free will, one may come to the conclusion that this could be at least “one” of the reasons that God came up with the Plan that God came up with before creation itself.If one were to believe that God has a Plan and has had that Plan since before creation than one may come to the conclusion that it is only God Who knows just how it all “fits” together but that, ultimately, God’s Plan is for All.That is, if one believes in a God that is worth believing in.God revealed Himself to me not when I was looking for God but when I was looking for forgiveness.I believed in God before I met God but I did not “know” that God Is until I met God.See you ALL in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • mini2

    This is stupid; if one hates “god,” one canNOT be an atheist.

  • Utahreb

    Some of us who do not believe in any organized religion are not angry at God – we are angry at those who use the idea of God to punish, to disrespect others, to push their religion on us.We feel for those in religions who fear an Almighty and fear even more the wrath of those who preach love and practice hate.

  • nolarobert

    Hirshfield states, “Perhaps there is a God and perhaps there is not. While extremists on both sides of this debate hate to admit it, there is proof for neither conclusion.” This is what makes me miffed (not really angry) as there is no evidence for the existence of any supernatural forces, brings or gods which means this is not a 50/50 proposition. Since the theists are the ones making the assertion that the deity of their choice exist, then the burden of proof rest with them and until they can present some evidence-based proof the natural, default position is that we exist in a material universe with no supernatural interference. So Hirshfield’s hypothesis that atheists are angry with “god” is without merit as you cannot get angry with a being that does not exist. I do get angry with those who believe that just because they believe on faith that the deity (or deities) of their choice exist that endows them with special rights and privileges to use government funds and authority to push their faith-based agenda. Atheists get angry when we see proponents of religion use their archaic belief system to retard scientific and social progress because they value myth over fact. Epicurus got it right when he wisely inquired,

  • hohandy

    if you don’t believe that something exists how can you possibly be mad at it? What is infuriating are those clueless religious people who really need to get a good grip – but supposed anger at somebody else’s imaginary friend? Really – get a grip

  • rsl903

    “Among the most interesting findings in Exline’s study are the place of anger at God in the lives of self-declared atheists, and also the compatibility of simultaneous anger and positive feelings about God.

  • nicekid

    I don’t understand this whole discussion. Atheism is a state of lack of belief in any deity. How can one possibly be angry at an entity one does not believe exists? If you’re angry at “God,” you clearly are not an atheist.

  • moemongo

    No, they are just fed up with the holier than thou crowd that seeks to indoctrinate even dogs into the great christian mythology.

  • ak1967

    This is the most foolish column. God goes back to Abraham ? then you do not know who created this universe 14 billion years ago.

  • zenbeatnik

    It would be more helpful if Mr. Hirschfield had actually quoted the article he linked to, instead of paraphrasing to his advantage.”People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image – that is, what they imagined God might be like.”Note the phrases “in the past” and “hypothetical image” based on their indoctrination at the hands of their childhood religions. Very different from actually being angry at “God”.As an atheist (or perhaps anatheist) I get very angry at the hypothetical images of gods perpetrated on us by organized religion. I get even angrier at the images of the gods of the unorganized religions – those freelance evangelicals who have a perverted understanding of their own religious texts. And I’m at my angriest when those followers of organized religions parse their own texts to inflict injustice and cruelty on those they fear or misunderstand. Sadly, Mr. Hirschfield is coming close to doing the same thing by miscasting the article he linked to in an attempt to discredit atheists.

  • anton43

    The assertion that “…there is proof for neither conclusion,” demands that those of us who don’t believe must provide proof for the absence of God. With this flawed logic, Santa Claus must exist because we can’t conclusively prove that he doesn’t. In reality, the burden of proof is not on those who see no hand of God in the universe, but on those who do. This is the flawed logic that gets us into so much trouble. Anybody remember “weapons of mass destruction?”

  • wideblacksky

    There sure are a lot of grammatical and spelling errors in this column. Are you angry at English?

  • ropespin

    Seriously, who posted this inanity?! Not only is it rife with grammar and spelling errors (which already make me question the intelligence of the author), but it also makes no logical sense. The “study” you discuss itself begs a question: how well was it designed when the author couldn’t even find subjects who could properly define their set of beliefs? What a moronic study, asking “atheists” is they are angry at God! Is the Post really publishing this drivel and linking it to the front page?

  • ropespin

    Seriously, who posted this inanity?! Not only is it rife with grammar and spelling errors (which already make me question the intelligence of the author), but it also makes no logical sense. The “study” you discuss itself begs a question: how well was it designed when the author couldn’t even find subjects who could properly define their set of beliefs? What a moronic study, asking “atheists” if they are angry at God! Is the Post really publishing this drivel and linking it to the front page?

  • david6

    No one knows that any gods exist. There is no evidence to support such a claim. I don’t bother to believe in any gods because of that lack of evidence. I don’t bother to get angry with such nonexistent gods, either, but I am quite willing to get angry at religious people who spread lies and hide behind their religious doctrines while doing so.

  • Tmcollis

    This is just annoying. The writer suggests that Believers and Non-Believers are on an equal footing because neither can prove his case. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Without evidence, claims of the existence of a god are no more persuasive than claims of the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  • AnonyMiss

    Thinly veiled attempt to patronize and discredit atheists. “Anger at God” is anger at what his followers have done in the name of their religious faiths — has nothing to do with actual belief in the supernatural.

  • ashleywb

    I get angry at fictional characters all the time. I hated almost every character in Fowles’ The Collector. I despise Clark on “Smallville” because he’s a lying, hypocritical, pompous prig.On the other hand I’ve felt everything from profound respect to crushes to love for my favorite fictional characters from books, tv shows, and movies.None of this love or hate means I think any of these characters are real. It simple means that something about the way they are portrayed is meaningful to me in some way. We don’t do religion or consume fiction because it’s real but because it strikes emotional cords both “positive” and “negative” in us.Personally, I have never felt anger towards a “god”, but I was never really invested in the concept at any point in my life. I can certainly see how other atheists would feel anger towards the concept, though. Some might feel it for more personal reasons because they experienced hardship in breaking free from a religion. Others might feel it because religion is so often a great force of evil in our world, and the figures cut by the most popular gods of our age are often murderously offensive to those who believe in justice and compassion for their fellow humans.BTW, Mr. Hirschfield, I wonder if you are interested in growing a little. Again and again, you invoke the “no proof for or against” argument concerning your gods, though you must be aware that’s not the point. There’s no definitive proof against Clark Kent/Superman, either, but you don’t believe in him. Good thing because I’m telling you, the kid is a sanctimonious little punk.

  • skinswitabullet

    I believe in many cases, as in my own, that it is not God that attracts Atheist’s anger, it is the practitioners of the various belief systems that cause anger.

  • areyousaying

    “…anger goes back at least as far as Abraham…”The common denominator of Jews, Muslims and Christians. Maybe atheists are really angry that disciples of these ancient religions continually fight amongst themselves and try to jam their dogma down others throats to totally control them.I’m not an atheist but this certainly pisses me off.

  • frodot

    Angry at God? What God? Which god? Why? It makes more sense to be angry at the evil and harm done in the world by the self-proclaimed agents of various gods, who have killed and harmed more people than any other single cause of misfortune on earth. Religions are worse than governments, and especially toxic when the two are combined. And then if you wrap in royalty and/or nationalism, there is a formula for wholesale slaughter!

  • mttime

    Seems like the atheists are awake in the wee hours….I know I was. These are some smart folks responding to this silly article. Indeed: How can one prove the absence of god? Mr. H. apparently skipped his college logic (and English) course(s).MT

  • RichardHode

    “Anger at God?” That is close to “making war on God,” or moharreb, a criminal charge that carries the death penalty and is frequently used in Iran to kill political enemies. Clearly rabbis and imams are birds of a feather – in the case of the Iranians, shiite-birds (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)Personally, I don’t have a religion but if I had to choose, I’d go Christianity in a heartbeat. They have the best music, by far …

  • Auslander1

    In the era of hasty texting and haphazard blogs,I’m slowly getting used to reading amateur pieces written with frequent typographical and syntax errors. Still…I expect a little more from The Washington Post. Don’t you guys have any proofreaders on staff?Paragraph 3: “Was that not the case, at who is one angry?” …Was, or “were?”Paragraph 5: “That week connection to God when things go bad may be true…” Yeah, I know; “week” passed the spellchecker, so it must be OK. Paragraph 9: “…it has no place in the life of a “good atheists.” Even an auto-grammar-checker would complain about seeing a singular article “a” paired with a plural noun “atheists.”

  • CalP

    For some time now, I have concluded that when someone states that he/she does not believe in God, they are really saying that they do not believe in the Christian Religion’s concept of God. A God who promises Salvation only to Christians, despite the Christian belief that Christ died for the sins of all mankind. This statement is repeated every time we recite the Nicene Creed and say, that Christ’s one oblation was a full and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all mankind–all mankind must include all religions, and even those who do not follow any religion.I believe this message is also repeated in Galatians, when it speaks of the heathens being blessed the same as Abraham, if they have faith.

  • The_New_Deal

    Are adults angry at Santa Claus? How can you be angry at someone you don’t believe exists? What an asinine article. The author needs to look up the word atheist in the dictionary before spewing all this nonsense.

  • B_Al_Zebub

    Nonsense, how can you be angry at something that you believe doesn’t exist? By the way, the term atheist is a Christian term, and therefore shouldn’t apply to a non believer. In the Muslim world a non believer is an infidel, also irrelevant to non Muslims. Each religion makes up it’s own rules, and I think they are all believing in the same story interpreted by different languages and cultures over the centuries. Jews, Muslims, Christians, same story – different language. Single God and a great philosopher. Believe if you must, but there are so many nonsensical contradictions, mostly stemming from the middles ages that it just doesn’t apply in an educated society. Just take away the philosophy of living in peace and harmony, and forget about hate.

  • DrRP1

    I’m not angry at Santa Claus, but that Easter Bunny was pretty irritating last year.Honestly, how can you be angry at something you don’t believe in?

  • raschumacher

    Not G-d, but I *am* pretty ticked off at Galactus.

  • bertzel

    Clearly the author is confused as to the definition of an atheist. I therefore can only believe his definition of God is also confusing. If you do not ‘know’ God you cannot have an accurate discussion about God and the existence thereof.

  • afpre42

    That’s ridiculous. By definition atheists don’t believe in God so that would be like being angry at dragons or unicorns. They may be angry at some people who believe in God, or at religious organizations, or at a society which tries to force religion on them against their will, but that is not the same as being angry at God. This is simply an idea cooked up by religious types who cannot come to terms with someone who does not believe god actually exists, obviously they must really just be mad at god, or hate christian values. It’s just a way of villainizing atheists so they can be used as a punching bag. Most atheists actually don’t even care what anyone else believes, let alone hating them for it.

  • The_New_Deal

    “…Perhaps there is a God and perhaps there is not…”Once again the author’s nonsensical logic- I think both believers and atheists would agree that these are two mutually exclusive concepts.

  • mgallo2

    Less concern over atheist for whom are angry with God, (seems nonsenseable or ironic; since, they disbelieve), and more attention to how believers express or place their faith.

  • MrDarwin

    Mr. Hirschfield is clearly angry at Zeus, Odin, and Vishnu.

  • patmatthews

    Anger one if the three poisons of humanity as taught in Buddhism. Anger by itself is not destructive when used in a positive manner; i.e. angry at inequality or inhumanity.Being concerned with the beliefs of non-Christians is just a waste of time. Even posters have acknowledged that they were not a part of the survey and do NOT fit the aggregate of those sampled for this article.How can you be angry at something that does not exist in your mind? I think this article is a wast of time and should perhaps indulge themselves into the realm of anger and gain understanding of self-anger before claiming knowledge of the source of anger of others, leading to foolishness another of the poisons of Buddhism. Greed, Anger, and Foolishness the Three Poisons of Buddhism and humanity.Patrick

  • fishcrow

    Without God there are no moral absolutes.Without moral absolutes, nothing can be absolutely morally wrong, which means no one can complain about the worst crimes against humanity because they’re all relative. The holocaust, child predators, etc. – they become merely relative.Athiests’ eyes usually start spinning at about that point in the argument. They so want to say something is morally “wrong” and yet they deny themselves even that. They’re not angry at God – they’re angry at themselves.

  • janeway1

    I’m quite tired of religious folks painting anyone not like them as God hating ie. “bad people”. As an agnostic, I am angry at the way many religious followers use their chosen religion to push their “morals” onto others. Choosing to believe (or not) in a story does not make you morally superior to anyone.Religion already gets tax free status ie. my tax dollars help support your ministry. That’s bad enough without having to put up with the hypocrisy.

  • James10

    I cannot fathom that the human conscience was just a matter of evolution.Posted by: janet8Can you fathom particle physics?

  • thrh

    How can you be angry at that which does not exist?

  • folder9633

    The continued existence of monsters like Dick Cheney is proof positive that there is no God but that the Devil is alive and well.

  • HookedOnThePost

    I don’t hate God as much as I hate Christians who pull their sheep in with a Santa myth and then reveal the ugly truth = demons, judgement, shunning, hypocrisy, selfishness, debauchery.

  • getjiggly1

    Ah Fishcrow, enough with the “moral absolutes” bs. Of course there are no “moral absolutes.” Morality changes with changes in culture, values, and history. In ancient Greece it was absolutely “morally” acceptable to have a preteen male concubine. In Biblical times it was “morally” acceptable BY THE PEOPLE WHO PURPORTEDLY WROTE THE BIBLE to have slaves and slaughter innocent women and children so long as they were the enemy’s women and children. Your argument does not compute.

  • rsl903

    Janet8 wrote: ” I think one of the basic foundations of the human spirit created by God is the discernment in our conscience. Knowing right from wrong. Good from evil.

  • schnauzer21

    Without God there are no moral absolutes.By the way, our eyes are not “spinning” in confusion, we are just rolling them at you and your myths/superstition.

  • bertzel

    ~~~One cannot be moral by blindly following a god’s orders.~~~Again! One must KNOW God in order to have an accurate discussion. If you do not know what ‘God’ is your discussion is obsolete…Try taking religion out of the equation. Most of you are discussing religion and religious beliefs, which were in fact, created by man, for man. God is not religion.

  • The_New_Deal

    Religion by itself (whether or not you believe in god) is a form of mind control that the ruling class uses to exploit the masses. It is important to note that the African slaves who were brought over by the British were indoctrinated with Christianity and the promise of a rich after life if they were obedient and well behaved slaves. In today’s growing wage slave economy why should Christianity or any other religion have any other purpose other than to make its subjects more accepting of the decreasing quality of human life???

  • braunt

    I have always been intrigued by how many self-proclaimed atheists spend so much time expressing their views on a blog clearly titled “On Faith.” If you don’t have faith in a Supreme Being, then why bother to argue the issue on this blog, unless the point is to merely antagonize those of us who do claim such faith? There are plenty of other blogs for which I would think atheists or other like-minded people could discuss their interests.I understand that this is a public forum and people are invited to share their views, but it seems the arguments made here come down to those who believe and those who do not, with little discussion of the various types of faith or expression of faith that exist in the religious community. I suppose it would be like going onto a biology blog and arguing almost exclusively over creationism and evolution, while ignoring the greater realm of that facet of science.

  • jonswitzer

    Evolution can not explain the human eye and its irreducible complexity. Are 85% of the human race who believe in God wrong and only the 15% atheists right? Sounds awfully elitist to think that those 15% after thousands of years of human history finally figured things out and have to force their “doctrine” on the rest of us. Have not atheists also been guilty of human failure on a terrible scale? For example, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Kim Jung Il, Hugo Chavez…? Certainly we all need some explanation for both the wild internal joy at the amazing world/cosmos/start/seas/mountains/humanity…and an explanation for the intense suffering, war and hatred. Evolution cannot explain the good and our appreciation for it. However, it hits the nail on the head when it describes the animal-like selfishness of only the strong surviving that drives much of the evil on the earth.

  • strouthesm

    Pretty pointless article.Seems like the author completely misses the point. I think afpre42 put it very succinctly.

  • illogicbuster

    “Self-declared atheists, according to the study, not only report getting angry at God, but report higher levels of anger than that experienced by believers. “I have yet to meet a highly vocal atheist that isn’t absolutely bonkers. This just proves out that observation.

  • njoebott

    Hey Hookedonthepost, are you also hooked on crack? Or are you as simple minded as the thought that Santa is the net that “captures” Christians. And to think that you believe Christians have a monopoly on all of the failings of human beings – like selfishness and hypocrisy. Considering your lack of understanding in human nature and the most prevalent religion in this country, I am sure you haven’t succeeded in many of your endeavors. Stop reading the post and go back to school, dope!

  • doc16

    There is equal proof in the existence of santa claus and god. Neither has been seen. If you believe in god then you have to believe in the possibility of santa, since god makes all things possible. By extension, if you believe in god (which requires faith in the absence of proof) then you believe in the possibility of everything. There are NO rules

  • kuato

    There is really only one article of faith that is central to atheism, which is that one must believe that there is no god. Therefore, no true atheist can actually be angry at god – having such feelings stands in direct contrast to the definition of atheism.It’s like arguing that a good portion of Christians don’t believe in the divinity of Christ. Which is to say that this argument is stupid.

  • whynotajoke

    Brad, I think that you are a misleading malevolent idiot.As to the person who posted,”See you ALL in the KINGDOM”, I don’t know what you are talking about. I won’t be able to see after I’m dead.

  • schreibermg1

    Don’t you have to acknowledge the existance of something before you can hate it? To deny something exists means there is a chance that it does exist. Athiests cannot say there is no God without believing there must be a God in the first place. Otherwise, why would they care what I believe in?

  • letitbe

    Breaking NEWS: “By using Cruel & Unusual Tactics: Three-3 ALQAEDA members confessed to following Turkish/Pakistani ISLAMIC BROTHER HOOD’s plot/plan to eject all KAFIR’S from All the 56-OIC-Nations before Saudi Arabia and the GCC create the new ISLAMIC CURRENCY….” Jan.4.2011. 07:15 GMT. WHEREFORE:DEATH to: I S L A M i C — S I S T E R H O O D too!DEATH to: I R A N! (NOt Secular Persians).DEATH to: PAKISTAN! (Not Secular Hurdu).DEATH to: T U R K E Y! (Not Real Sekular)

  • Davidd1

    OK, I admit it, I hate Zeus. Does this make me an atheist?

  • Sajanas

    I dislike the fictional character of God, much that I dislike the fictional character of, oh, lets say Iago, from Othello. God in the Old Testament is an imperial dictator that creates and destroys, but never mends or comforts. God in the New Testament is a fickle entity that loves only those who love him, and tortures those who do not, or are simply unaware, for eternity. I also dislike the gods of the Greek, Norse, and Roman Pantheon, as they are all fickle jerks. And the author has no more proof that his version of god exists than that of anyone else, except that when he was little, his parents told him it was true.I dislike how these fictional creations inform on our culture far more than more modern, and more moral teachings, and how as I child I had to slowly tear down my belief in these things, a much more painful process than if I had just been presented the world as it is by my parents.

  • citigreg

    Athesists angry at something/someone they don’t believe in?Smoke another one!

  • janet8

    James10 wrote:”If you were to believe in God and that God is an all knowing being then it surely must be true that you have a pitiful human intelligence. Albert Einstein would be of pitiful human intelligence compared to God, would he not?”————————Yes, James, we all have a pitiful human intelligence compared to God, even Einstein.As Einstein himself said:”I’m not an atheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what that is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the most intelligent human toward God.”

  • afpre42

    I find it interesting that neither of the two links referenced by this posting give any numbers. The story referenced in the first link points out that the study only involved college students, which is not a representative sample of the population in any case. That story actually stated that “People unaffiliated with organized religion, atheists and agnostics also report anger toward God either in the past, or anger focused on a hypothetical image – that is, what they imagined God might be like” One could easily conclude that if the study only involved college age students, that you are talking about a group who only recently reached an age where they could rationally consider such things and understand the distinction between things like atheism and agnosticism. You would be talking about a sample where many of them would have had their exposure to religion dominated by whatever their parents believed, for most of their lives. So if the questions asked were really ‘have you *ever* been mad at god’ a college age atheist might well state ‘Yes, because the whole idea made no sense to me. Then I realized there was no god at all’. And that would produce the results in the study, but does not support the conclusion Hirshfield seems to reach.

  • rsl903

    jonswitzer wrote: “Einstein believed in God.I have studied Jesus…Santa was no Jesus. I have studied the claims of the Old Testament and it’s “witness” of God’s activity in their lives…Santa was no Hebrew God. No adult ever believed in Santa. However, St Nicholas from whom the myth came was an adult who gave gifts to the poor because he was like countless thousands/millions of other adults who believed in a good God who gave His own son as a gift. 85% of the world believes in a God. Thus the relevant question for the overwhelming majority is not “if” but “which”.

  • itsthedax

    What’s disappointing here is that neither Brad, nor any of the ranting posters here, have bothered to look up the source material for this article.In a few minutes of research, I found that Dr. Exline didn’t conduct any actual study. She cherrypicked data from five unrelated studies on general anger, and drew some conclusions without any actual controls, testable hypotheses or measurable data. The supposed study is just Exline’s unsupported opinion. This whole discussion shows nothing but intellectual laziness on the part of the post’s readership; and really shoddy journalism on the part of Mr. Hirschfield.

  • James10

    I have always been intrigued by how many self-proclaimed atheists spend so much time expressing their views on a blog clearly titled “On Faith.” If you don’t have faith in a Supreme Being, then why bother to argue the issue on this blog, unless the point is to merely antagonize those of us who do claim such faith? There are plenty of other blogs for which I would think atheists or other like-minded people could discuss their interests. …Posted by: braunI suppose we could ask whey would someone who believes in God write an article about atheists? Or why would a person who believes in God read an article about atheists? Why should people get a tax deduction for keeping Pat Robertson living in the manner he has grown accustomed to? For that matter why should anyone get a tax deduction to pay for the living expenses of any minister. Those deduction increase the deficit and places an additional tax burden on atheists. It’s an accounting gimic to force atheists to pay for religion. Did Jesus of Nazareth ask for a tax deduction? When shown the Roman coin did Jesus say: “Render unto Caeser that which belongs to Caeser and unto God that which belongs to God or did he say” …. “They should put “In God we Trust” on that coin.”Interestingly, there was another study some years back that showed that the more frequently people attended religious services the more likely they were to support torture. Atheists don’t attend church that often and were at the bottom of the list.Atheists might wonder what people who go to Church at taught there.

  • kuvasz

    GOD, GOD, GOD! Why in the hell are you folks arguing about something you each define differently? Its akin to cooking a meal while each of you use different types of measurement.

  • johng1

    I don’t understand this whole discussion. Atheism is a state of lack of belief in any deity. How can one possibly be angry at an entity one does not believe exists? If you’re angry at “God,” you clearly are not an atheist.Posted by: nicekid | January 4, 2011 8:25 AM————Precisely! This makes no sense, by definition!

  • Freestinker

    OK. Brad might actually be right here.Think about it. If god(s) are just human beliefs and nothing more, then the atheists who “hate god(s)” just hate the beliefs, since that’s all god(s) really are.So in this case, atheists who hate the God of Abraham only hate that particular belief, not an actual supernatural being (because according to atheists, none exist). Like several other posters have noted, it is simply not logical for an atheist or anyone else for that matter, to hate something that doesn’t even exist. I still hate fairies though because they just drive me nuts!

  • dodavatar

    Does acknowledging God mean that Atheists believe in God? Atheists should not believe in religion and should not even acknowledge its existence. Those that deny God are those that believe in His existence. There are millions of people that don’t believe in god or religion, but you never hear from them denying something that doesn’t exist for them.

  • DaveHarris

    As an atheist, I can confirm that one cannot be angry at something that doesn’t exist. I do, however, confess to a certain degree of anger at believers, and the false religions which have encouraged them in all manner of criminal behavior. Although Muslims are presently the worst offenders, Christians have been just as bad in the past. Criminals are criminals, no matter what god they claim to be obeying.

  • gershwin2009

    “Atheists angry at God?”NO, please believers get this once and for all, we are angry at people who believe they have god on their side whenever dealing with moral questions, to paraphrase Mr. Hitchens.You may say that some atheists (myself included) definitively show contempt and disrespect to organized religion.There is NO god and thus it would be ridiculous to be angry and something that does not exist!

  • dkoflynn01

    So atheists are angry at people who believe in God? Is not that the height of intolerance? For the temerity to think differently than an aetheist? And, of course, by the atheists’ twisted logic, it is intolerant for those who believe in God to criticize atheists. How about a “moment of silence” (whatever that means) for those atheists that are intolerant and angry at the believers!

  • jonswitzer

    RSL 903 (I wish you would give your real name and not hide behind a vague number).Nevertheless, til now, I have not attempted to prove God in my postings. I have merely responded to the accusation that “religious” people are the cause of evil; to the accusation that God and Santa are equivalent beliefs; and finally to the charge that the religious push their beliefs on others (as if atheists do not).

  • ThishowIseeit

    Brad Hirschfield, what has happened to you?

  • daniel12

    A mistake seems to have been made here. Atheists do not believe in God, so it makes little sense to say they are angry at God–as if mitigate their anger and they will become reconciled to God (in somewhat the same way a Christian angry at God for some reason can be cooled down and reconciled to God).However atheists sure get angry about something they do not believe in! In fact they title themselves atheists–non-believers in God! Would anyone title himself a non-believer in something other than God? Think of all the false beliefs a person could take a stand against. Atheists might not be angry at God but they rail against the belief constantly…Of course it is all religion’s fault.One would think atheists would demonstrate more of the morality and consideration they say can exist without God. If Good and Evil exist in the first place…What I mean by that latter comment is that biology, the genetic sciences, seem to be demonstrating more every day that character in a person is much like character in a member of any species, quite inflexible, which means that the violent criminal is not as responsible for his actions as we assume, and the good person of course deserves no great accolade for his goodness because he is just genetically that way and made no strenuous effort to be good…Good and Evil, morality, do not really exist if people are fated to their actions and cannot really change them. How can we condemn a person for being genetically what he is? That would be like saying a mean dog is bad when of course no moral change can be expected of it. The question is not whether man can be good without God, but whether the loss of religion and rise of biology will result in a world in which bad people cannot be blamed as much as we like, and the good people can no longer be so righteous about their morality.

  • jonswitzer

    If we are to try to prove Jesus, then we would certainly start with whether or not such a man existed. Josephus certainly spoke of such a man “who went about doing good.” It is in no way surprising that “secular” sources don’t mention miracles. Are they to be considered less biased than the Apostles who died for what they believed? Hardly. Concerning the Apostle Paul: He said, 1 Cor 15:3-8 “3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.”Finally, extensive mythological precursor to a dying/resurrecting God/son merely strengthens the argument. How does a broad based popular moral expectation that if God is good he would be willing to let his son die for our sins weaken the argument? The myths vary in details but the moral story remains the same. So myths anticipating what Christ did certainly is not an argument for it not happening. On the other hand we have over 5500 extant copies of the gospels and epistles some dating to within 50 years of their actual writing. In terms of historical/religious documents this is unprecedented anywhere. The likelihood of his existence is strong. Furthermore, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 give predictions that even if they were not written when they claim, were still written significantly before Christ. The Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed that. The question is then whether he was what he said he was. Either he was, or he was a lunatic, or he was a liar. Seeing that almost no one thinks there is a higher moral standard than the sermon on the mount, liar would be profoundly inconsistent. Furthermore, he lived with people who died for him with NO political agenda or monetary gain to be had. People might die for a lie if there were some personal benefit, not so likely if there were none. So, maybe he was a lunatic. Of course, then Josephus comments about a man who went about doing good would seem inappropriate. The myth theory is interesting and should be part of the discussion. Nevertheless, its pillars are a bit flimsy. Their historical relevance hardly compare with the facts.

  • terencef100

    For Gershwin2009, who wrote:”NO, please believers get this once and for all, we are angry at people who believe they have god on their side whenever dealing with moral questions”I do not believe I have God on my side, ever.I try my best to be on God’s side, always.

  • saami

    This has to rank up there with dumbest post ever. I am an atheist and I don’t hate god because there isn’t a god. I don’t waste my time hating an imaginary being. And the ranting and raving in some of these comments is a bit scary. How about live and let live.

  • James10

    TO: janet8 Yes. You have no thoughts of your own. You don’t “know in your heart”, because your heart doesn’t know anything. It was merely an expression that man created when they did not have the inability to provide any rationale justification for what they believe. Einstein could admit it. You can’t.

  • TheDiz

    Where did hate come into this discussion? Atheists don’t hate any more than anyone else, likely, in my opinion, less so than many “believers”. And why are the “believers” so threatened by someone else’s lack of belief? Even though the majority of the world’s population “believes”, and constantly remind each other so, the relatively small number of atheists drive them to distraction. I’m surrounded and inundated by religious rhetoric and dogma through almost every fiber of our culture, but it doesn’t threaten my belief system. And yes, I do have a belief system. God just doesn’t happen to be a part of it. As for this article: More of the same, inane religious “logic” driven discussion by someone who just doesn’t get it that atheist DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD, so no, we’re not angry at god because we – now listen carefully – DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD.

  • jonswitzer

    Anger at religion is misplaced. Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Stalin and others show that religion is not THE cause of evil. Rather, there appears to be something in All of us that leads to evil. If a child of a single parent is abused should single parenthood be labeled the cause? If sex abuse happens in public schools should the public school be considered the cause? No, rather, what we find is that religious people tend to have the same faults that non-religious people have. Interesting.Of course, Christianity claims this to be true. They claim that ALL have sinned and fall short…So, Christianity and Atheism agree on this point.

  • lch123

    If we begin with the proposition that there is no proof of either the existence or non-existence of God, we are left with alternate possible outcomes. Comes now the aetheist who is mad at God. The aetheist says if there is a God, the deity is a monster who commits evil acts starting with imposing the burdens of mortality and ilness upon mankind without proper or prior consent. This makes the aetheist very angry. It could even lead one to say that Christ died for the sins of God not the sins of man. Oh dear!However, if there is no God, there is nothing to be angry about. Hence the better choice is not to be angry and be an aetheist.

  • Freestinker

    Atheists can most certainly hate god(s)!Seriously, most atheists I know conclude that god(s) are just human beliefs. For example, Christopher Hitchens falls into this category. He hates religion, or the belief in gods, not any actual supernatural beings themselves. If he hated the invisible beings themselves, he wouldn’t be an atheist now would he? So when an atheist says he hates god(s), he only means he hates the beliefs, nothing more. It doesn’t imply that he actually believes in the god(s) themselves!

  • jswietli

    What a bunch of claptrap. Anyone who would ascribe the suspension of critical reasoning necessary to believe in God, to anything else in life, should rightfully be kept apart from sharp objects and their own money. Yet, all sorts of otherwise supposedly enlightened individuals still have “reason” to believe in a deity. We used to be able to afford to do this as a society. But, given today’s problems and today’s risks, it’s time to stop tolerating this idiocy. The Bible was written by people who didn’t know what happened to the sun once it set, and now belongs on a shelf between “Batman” and “Cinderella”.Look, this world has severe problems, not the least of which is religious fundamentalism. The sooner we stop letting our thought process get clouded by these inane beliefs, the sooner we can find our way out of the multiple miseries that the world is currently in. Shame on the Post for even allowing such a nonsensical article to be written.

  • jonswitzer

    Hate = strong disagreement?? This ain’t your mother’s hate! Are atheists hateful for disagreeing with me? Are Buddhists hateful to disagreeing with me? Hate = evil?? Should we not hate injustice, rape, lying, cheating, child abuse, oppression, genocide?Religion = evil?? Is Nuclear Power evil for being used to kill? Is knowledge evil for being used to oppress and manipulate others? Is morality evil for being used by self-righteous hypocrites? Is religion powerful? Yes. Does that make it evil? No. What is evil?

  • TheDiz

    At least someone has the sense to point out that there is no proof either way. Regardless of how hard they try, neither any believer nor any non-believer can prove the existence or non-existence of a god. Believe what you will and for whatever reason you may have. For my part, I find no evidence to compel my to believe. Therefore: I do not believe in a god. The facts, though, are clear enough for me to know it would be outside the realm of reason for me to deny the possibility that a god exists. Any believers out there willing to do the same?

  • jonswitzer

    Evolution can not explain the human eye and its irreducible complexity. Are 85% of the human race who believe in God wrong and only the 15% atheists right? Sounds awfully elitist to think that those 15% after thousands of years of human history finally figured things out and have to force their “doctrine” on the rest of us. Have not atheists also been guilty of human failure on a terrible scale? For example, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Kim Jung Il, Hugo Chavez…? Certainly we all need some explanation for both the wild internal joy at the amazing world/cosmos/start/seas/mountains/humanity…and an explanation for the intense suffering, war and hatred. Evolution cannot explain the good and our appreciation for it. However, it hits the nail on the head when it describes the animal-like selfishness (only the strong survive) that drives much of the evil on the earth.

  • jswietli

    jonswitzer: “Evolution can not explain the human eye and its irreducible complexity. Are 85% of the human race who believe in God wrong and only the 15% atheists right?..” – YES.”Sounds awfully elitist to think that those 15% after thousands of years of human history finally figured things out and have to force their “doctrine” on the rest of us.” – NOT ELETIST, MERELY DIFFERENCE OF OPINION, BASED ON A REFUSAL TO BELIEVE IN A CONTRADICTORY BELIEF SYSTEM. “Have not atheists also been guilty of human failure on a terrible scale? For example, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, Kim Jung Il, Hugo Chavez…?” – NO.”Certainly we all need some explanation for both the wild internal joy at the amazing world/cosmos/start/seas/mountains/humanity.” – NO, WE DO NOT. IT IS AGAINST HUMAN NATURE TO ADMIT IGNORANCE, BUT SOMETIMES, THAT IS THE CORRECT ACTION TO TAKE. THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM ADOPTING A CONTRADICTORY BELEIF SYSTEM TO EXPLAIN WHAT WE DO NOT KNOW, AND MAY OR MAY NOT EVER KNOW. “..and an explanation for the intense suffering, war and hatred. ” – AN EXPLANATION FOR SUFFERING, WAR, AND HATRED LIES WITHIN AN EXPLANATION OF THE NATURE OF HUMANS. A MORE INTERESTING AND POINTED EXPLANATION WOULD BE FOR NATURAL DISASTERS WHICH KILL INDISCRIMATELY, SUCH AS THE 2004 TSUNAMI. “Evolution cannot explain the good and our appreciation for it. However, it hits the nail on the head when it describes the animal-like selfishness (only the strong survive) that drives much of the evil on the earth.” AGREED. BUT A LACK OF EXPLANATION (OR UNDERSTANDING) DOES NOT JUSTIFY BELIEVING IN A DEITY.

  • jamesls

    As an atheist and a psychologist (retired), I am mildly amused by the contention that atheists are angry with god. Moreover, that we are ‘more’ angry with god than are theists. Yes, an amusing proposition, but totally unconvincing. Mr. Hirschfield, provides us with none of the design protocol details of the research which he cites (i.e., design structure, statistical validity and reliability coefficients, etc.). Thus, the casual reader has no way of knowing the intentions, actions, and findings of the original authors of the research. As a child, I once saw a rabbit on the same afternoon as an Easter egg hunt. Should I now conclude, without apparent evidence of replication, that rabbits deliver candy eggs? No, Mr. Hirschfield, the scientific method and rational minds are are far from convinced.

  • ThomasBaum

    nolarobertYou wrote, “Epicurus got it right when he wisely inquired,If God were to prevent evil we would be nothing more than “puppets on a “do-good string”.Then, “Is he able, but not willing?We can use “free will” for good or bad or indifference but to blame God for our use of it is to blame God for not making us puppets on a string. Is he both able and willing?Seems as if “evil” comes from the fact that we have a choice in what we do.Is he neither able nor willing?If we think of GOD in such a puny way than I could see why someone would object to calling God, God.I am speaking here of man’s inhumanity to man of which history seems to be overwhelmed with.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    B_Al_ZebubYou wrote, “Jews, Muslims, Christians, same story – different language.”Not even close to the “same story”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • jswietli

    Hi Jon – Thx for responding. To answer, first, no one is technically an athiest, since no one can prove a negative. So, let’s use the term agnostic.I’m not arguing whether Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin and Mao were guilty of terrible evil or not. You failed, however, to make the connection that their actions were driven by their religious beliefs or not. And it’s you, not me, that’s making a claim, so that the burden of proof is on you to make that connection. I apologize that I wasn’t clear in that response, and responding to each of those cases individually is more than I care to write.I don’t know that the 2004 Tsunami killed indiscriminately or not. Given the large numbers of babies drowned in their cribs, to say nothing of anyone else, I’m guessing that it likely did.As an agnostic, I think that any suffering, whether by nature or man’s hand, is bad. One does not need a religious viewpoint to make that conclusion; the golden rule as laid down by both Confusius and Jesus Christ still applies. But when it happens by nature, it is indeed, just nature. To conclude anything else is irrational.

  • ThomasBaum

    James10 You wrote, “I cannot fathom that the human conscience was just a matter of evolution.Posted by: janet8Can you fathom particle physics?”Do you think that particle physics thinks about or “fathoms” human conscience?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Freestinker

    What Brad doesn’t seem to realize is that for atheists, god(s) are just human beliefs (or opinions) and likely nothing more.There certainly are some atheists who hate the belief, like Christopher Hitchens, but there are many others who think supernatural beliefs are just plain silly and nothing at all to be hated. Pitied maybe but certainly not hated. I’m in this camp of atheists.Now when believers try to use these silly beliefs to justify restrictions on my liberty or oppress me in any way, well that’s when I get downright hateful but the hate is directed squarely at the believers actions, not at their superstitions.

  • getjiggly1

    Jon, the eye is not even close to irreducibly complex. It evolved in many ways in many different animals over millions of years from a clump of light-sensitive cells to similar cells with primitive lenses to more advanced and nuanced lenses to the modern eyes of creatures all over the world (many of which still have those less sophisticated versions, or have lost them over time via, you guessed it, EVOLUTION). If god made the eye so perfect, by the way, then why do I need glasses to read this as I type it? I guess I must be a bad person?

  • SecularHumanist2

    I would like to know how the question was asked of these atheists who supposedly are angry at God. Perhaps the question was worded in a way to skew the results, as is often the case with these studies.

  • rsl903

    Fellow Atheists,rational thinkers and non-believers in the supernatural: Attention! The jig is up! We’ve been totally busted by these 2 geniuses:As am I. The deafening din of the atheists you “hear” on these threads is the sound of not-quite-certain consciences trying desperately to convince themselves that God does, indeed, not exist.

  • Secular

    Mr. Hirschfeild, you are being silly and ridiculous. We atheists do not hate the non-existent sky-daddy or sky-mommy of yours. What we abhor and are frustrated about are:1) The silly superstitions horse manure, pig manure, or bull manures that endure from the early stone ages on till now.2) The demand of your ilk that we must show respect to your superstition, rather than hold them up for ridicule and utter contempt, they deserve.3) Such dogma and superstition, sans sky-daddy or sky-mommy, is held by you & your ilk in utter contempt & ridicule in all other areas of human thought. In fact you & your ilk hold non-orthodox religious beliefs of most native (under developed cultures, and short on numbers) in utmost contempt. Yet when we voice such contempt of your superstition we are labeled as bigots and secular fundamentalists, etc, etc.4) It si not enough that you & your ilk adhere to the stupid superstitions, but you make concerted attempts to impose your superstitious tenets on the rest of the society.5) Of course in some societies complete lack of liberties to any skeptic, even not avowed ones.6) Then the charlatans like you (the so called priest class) who like leeches are the parasites on the community. Your ilk are woefully inadequately skilled to produce anything of economic value. Yet like leeches that suck the blood out of a being, you suck the limited resources of individuals and that of the society by continuing to propagate the crap that should have been left behind the dust heap of history.7) Some of your ilk that stand in the way of the human progress by way of science and technology.8) Above all it is your ilk that have been thwarting the social & cultural progress of human kind, in the name the decrypt vile texts called scripture.Other that we are not angry at anything at all.

  • Secular

    Just a 411 question. How is it that this article did not show up for me until about 30 minutes ago when other had seen it as early as 1;00PM yesterday? I do press F5 to refresh the page quite often. Is there any profile setting that I need to set?

  • Freestinker

    As am I. The deafening din of the atheists you “hear” on these threads is the sound of not-quite-certain consciences trying desperately to convince themselves that God does, indeed, not exist.RC,You don’t know anything more about what motivates atheists than you know about the existence of god(s), which is precisely nothing.There are many thousands of gods. How many of them do you believe in? If it’s just one then you are an atheist also. You just believe in one more god than I do.By your logic, your post must be a sign of your conscience trying desperately to convince yourself that Zeus does, indeed not exist.

  • jswietli

    To add one more point #9 to Secular’s list:9) The danger of believing in superstitions in a nuclear age, and more precisely, the danger of some strong believer wanting to hasten the arrival of what they perceive to be the ‘end days’ via military and political actions. I don’t normally like to engage in religious discussions, but to save ourselves, literally, we need to try and change modern civilizations’ outlooks (and tolerance of those outlooks) on religion, before some nutjob in a position of power inflicts his version of the Book of Revelation on us all. This is why nonbelievers are frustrated – and scared.

  • areyousaying

    B_Al_ZebubYou wrote, “Jews, Muslims, Christians, same story – different language.”Not even close to the “same story”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.Oh, please, do enlighten us who don’t see much difference by their actions.

  • Freestinker

    To my fellow atheists,Please consider that for us, gods are just human beliefs and nothing more. So when an atheist says they “hate god”, what they really mean is they hate the belief.Some of the atheists I know hate the belief but the rest of us just find them silly and amusing.Bottom line: You don’t have to actually believe in god(s) in order to hate the belief.If the atheists in the survey say they hate god, it only means they hate the belief. If the so-called atheists actually held any belief in god(s), then they weren’t really atheists in the first place, now were they?

  • jonswitzer

    Jswietli:Agnostic is fine. About the atheistic leaders of the 1900′s. I’m happy admitting that we can’t be sure that their atheism drove their policies, provided you admit that we don’t know that ugly policies of religious leaders throughout history were driven by their Christianity or other. That’s the point, we can’t blame religion or atheism but rather, human nature with its tendency toward greed, power and selfishness. About suffering. I’m not comfortable with you claiming that suffering is bad from an agnostic viewpoint. On what basis can anything be absolutely bad if there is no god? (Confucious referred to the Tau as an absolute standard, Christians to Biblical teaching). Nevertheless, from a Christian viewpoint, suffering is redemptive. We are to consider it pure joy whenever we face trials of many kinds (James 1). We are told to take up our cross daily to follow Christ (Matt 16:24). We are to view these things as the discipline of the Lord which is unpleasant but valuable. In fact, we are told that when the righteous die, God takes personal care over their death (Ps. 116:15). One saint said it like this, “we desire life like water and death like wine.” So, God’s sovereign choice to use suffering to teach lessons or decide the end of life is consistent with Biblical teaching and the golden rule. I realize you do not accept eternal rewards or punishments. Nevertheless, you cannot argue that Biblical teaching is inconsistent on this point. It maybe inconsistent with your philosophy of life, but it is not inconsistent with itself.

  • Freestinker

    Nevertheless, you cannot argue that Biblical teaching is inconsistent on this point. It maybe inconsistent with your philosophy of life, but it is not inconsistent with itself.JonSwitzer,The only way Biblical teachings can escape inconsistency with one another is by introducing completely vague and ambiguous concepts that completely defy reason.Three gods or one?The only way Biblical teachings can possibly hope to ecsape the inconsistent label, is for them to be so vague and ambiguous as to mean practically nothing at all.In other words, the mush may be consistent but it’s still just a bunch of mush.

  • ThomasBaum

    areyousaying I wrote, “B_Al_ZebubYou wrote, “Jews, Muslims, Christians, same story – different language.”Not even close to the “same story”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.You replied, “Oh, please, do enlighten us who don’t see much difference by their actions.”If you read what I wrote in reply to B_Al_Zebub, you will see that I said, “Not even close to the “same story”, I made no comment about the “actions” of anyone whether they be Jewish, Christian or Moslem so what you wish to be “enlightened” about has nothing to do with my reply.If you had wanted to be enlightened about the “story” not being the same, I think you already know.If not, in Christianity, God became One of us, in Islam, the god of islam claims Jesus as his prophet but denies Jesus’s Divinity, in Judaism, Jesus is recognized as neither a Prophet nor as God-Incarnate.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ThomasBaum

    whynotajokeYou wrote, “As to the person who posted,”See you ALL in the KINGDOM”, I don’t know what you are talking about. I won’t be able to see after I’m dead.”That was me who wrote that and how do you know that you “won’t be able to see” after your physical death?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • ThomasBaum

    rsl903 You wrote, “If 100% of humans suddenly didnt believe in gravity it wouldnt change the fact of its existence. The same principle applies to your god’s existence.”This is correct, if no one believes that God Is and is a Being of Pure Love and is a Trinity does not change the fact that God Is.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • jonswitzer

    I agree that the eye is reducibly complex. I was wrong on that. However, secular governments are responsible for the greatest genocides in the last hundred years. Certainly, Islam is responsible for the worst genocides in the last 50. About Hitler and religion perhaps a Hitler Youth marching song (Grunberger, A Social History) will help: “We follow not Christ, but Horst Wessel,Away with incense and Holy Water, The Church can go hang for all we care, The Swastika brings salvation on Earth.” About your claim atheists do not claim moral superiority. That is completely true as atheism has little explanation for where morality comes from and cares little for it even now. Instead atheists claim intellectual superiority which for an atheist/rationalist is the highest moral standard. Their scientificating has found its height in Dawkins, Hitchens, Hawking etc. Mockery knows no bounds in their writings. In fact, your mockery of the religious here on this list proves the self-inflating egoism found among atheists. Please understand that I in no way deny the self-righteousness found among religionists. I merely refute your claim to …humility about truth.

  • Freestinker

    “Sure I do. You are motivated by your God-given conscience, just like every other cognizant being on the planet.”======RC,Motivated my conscience, maybe but “God-given”? Think about it. Why would your god give me a conscience that completely rejects his very existence? That’s one stupid god if you ask me. So God-given? Probably not unless you have some very persuasive evidence to support your otherwise absurd claims.1) That any god(s) exist at all.Good luck with that! And yes, by now you certainly must realize that I smell exactly what you’re stepping in. The foul odor of irrational superstition is pretty hard to ignore! ;)

  • Freestinker

    “Mockery knows no bounds in their writings. In fact, your mockery of the religious here on this list proves the self-inflating egoism found among atheists.”======JonSwitzer,It is possible that the mockery is well-deserved? I think so. As Thomas Jefferson said: To some extent, the same is true for all gods of the human imagination, including yours.But just remember that mockery is the highest form of flattery! ;)

  • daniel12

    As Thomas Jefferson said: Ideas must be distinct before reason can act on them? Immediate error. As no one knows the distance between any idea and ultimate truth all ideas are provisional and indistinct. People act on ideas all the time whether relatively distinct or not and some of these actions just appear more reasonable than not. As for the trinity being indistinct, no man having had a relatively distinct idea of it, that is false: People generally acknowledge Christ died to save our sins, therefore we should walk in Christ to the best of our ability. Whatever one may say of Christianity as a metaphysical conceit it has a proven record for organizing society; modern Europe not to mention Gothic Cathedrals would have been impossible without the Christian idea, though atheists strangely disbelieve in the necessities of social evolutionary processes (society had to pass through religious stages before arriving at the modern) at the same time they throw evolutionary biology in religious people’s faces. Finally, ridicule is far from or even the best weapon against unintelligible propositions: History demonstrates pure thinking, philosophy, science, invention, art are far more effective; it has never been demonstrated that the society that ridicules the most is the most profound. Jefferson was far from a worthy thinker.

  • RCofield

    AREYOUSAYING, (Indeed I am)”As if no one but a “religious” person could have “faith”. I have faith RNC Fox News will elect Mitt Romney president so he can order NASA to build an humongous spaceship so his Mormons can “hie to Kolob” (the nearby planet where they think god lives) and take you two and the rest of your ilk with them. You sound insulted that you have encountered an individual who believes in God on a discussion forum about faith. Don’t you think that’s juuuuust a little over the top?Me thinks thou doest protest too much.Peace

  • Secular

    “However, secular governments are responsible for the greatest genocides in the last hundred years.”

  • RCofield

    FREESTINKER,(Quoting Jefferson the Deist–it always amuses me when an atheist quotes a Deist) “Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity.”Baloney. The doctrine of the Trinity had been well articulated and ably defended for the better part of 1500 years before Jefferson made that statement.

  • Secular

    “Baloney. The doctrine of the Trinity had been well articulated and ably defended for the better part of 1500 years before Jefferson made that statement.Posted by: RCofield | January 4, 2011 6:58 PM”Of course well articulated. But without the benefit of a single shred of evidence whatsoever. How come only for past 1500 years. Why wasn’t it articulated from day one? I have the answer, someone thought of it much much later and pulled it out of the north end of a south bound mule. Per the source it is nothing but “Mule Manure”. Is this mockery over the top? Or should I not be saying such fool things, Jon.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR (My old Satanic adversary)”How come only for past 1500 years.”"Why wasn’t it articulated from day one?”LOL. How about Genesis chapter 1? Is that “day one” enough for you?”RCofield you too, my claim was the atrocities, there certainly were, by the secularists like Stalin, mao, Pol Pot, et al were not motivated by their atheism but by their self aggrandizement and their penchant to not tolerate dissent.”Yes. I’m sure, now that you point it out with such scintilating logic (sic), that their murderous intent had nothing whatever to do with their godlessness. What was I thinking?! “They went after both theists of all stripes and atheist with the same fervor and vigor. Unlike the theocrats, who persecute solely because the victim is not of their ilk.”Riiight. I guess the fact that they were “equal opportunity offenders” elevates them several notches above the “religious” despots, huh? This “progressive zeitgeist” morality of yours is indeed breathtaking to behold.If logic were dynamite your collective arguments would not contain enough to blow your nose.”Per the source it is nothing but “Mule Manure”. Is this mockery over the top? Or should I not be saying such fool things, Jon.”You think THAT is high-octane intellectual mockery?! Were you raised by a community of mentally handicapped smurfs?

  • Kingofkings1

    Rabbi, congratulations on an overll a very good column. I would like to add that individuals who turn to God only in times of adversity and place him on the backburner during the vast majority of portion of the remainder of the time are enegaging in a very impolite practice. I mean, suppose you have someone showing up in your life only in times of their need and forgets you the vast majority of the time otherwise, are not going to garner as robust a response from you as someone who has been maintaining cordial relationship with you throughout both good and bad times of their life.

  • twmatthews

    JONSWITZER:There is nothing irreducibly complex about the human eye. In fact, even Behe had to admit that his cellular pump, which he claimed to be irreducibly complex, could in fact be reduced to simpler and still functioning components.The eye is far from being irreducibly complex. Our eye has a lens, focusing muscles and most of all, connected to the brain which inverts the image that is presented from our eyes. And in fact if you fit people with helmets that invert the image again, after a day or two our minds will adjust for it and invert it again so that we see the world right side up.This is no organ that is irreducibly complex.

  • twmatthews

    JONSWITZER:Josephus certainly spoke of such a man “who went about doing good.” It is in no way surprising that “secular” sources don’t mention miracles.Well, actually he didn’t. Most scholars of that period have concluded that the few, meager references made about Jesus by Josephus were inserted by someone else, after the fact. They base this conclusion on the fact that the reference to Jesus as being more than a man, reads more coherently when that section is left out. It also appears to be inserted as if Josephus was describing the area and then all of a sudden had a thought about Jesus and then went back to describing the area.Secular support for Jesus is virtually nonexistent.

  • twmatthews

    Hey RCO,Just got back from the holidays. I hope yours were healthy and fun-filled.RCOfield: The deafening din of the atheists you “hear” on these threads is the sound of not-quite-certain consciences trying desperately to convince themselves that God does, indeed, not exist.Putting aside the desperation in my writing, my personal experience has been that atheists are more compassionate and tolerant than believers. Look at the state of acceptance between believers and nonbelievers and you’ll find nonbelievers far more accepting. We don’t have to love because we are commanded to love. We don’t have to exclude because we are commanded to exclude. We are more apt to simply love people as they because deep down we believe most people are generally good. This is in stark contrast to your beliefs which consign human to the never ending apology for our shortcomings.What’s your experience RC regarding acceptance of gay couples to your church?

  • RCofield

    TW,Don’t we still have some unfinished discussion remaining on the other thread? You never responded to my last series of posts.“Putting aside the desperation in my writing, my personal experience has been that atheists are more compassionate and tolerant than believers.”–TWMYou need to get out more. :-) There are all kinds of studies and statistics that clearly demonstrate Christians to be substantially more charitable (compassionate) than secularists. The secularists TALK a good game on this point (when it suits their apologetic), but when the rubber meets the road it’s just that—talk. Talk is cheap. Genuine compassion is costly.As for tolerance—the secularist measure of all “virtue”–I find it amusing that those who preach the “gospel” of tolerance are themselves quite intolerant of Christians. The atheist vitriol on this very thread is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Have you not read some of the stuff being posted here?!“Look at the state of acceptance between believers and nonbelievers and you’ll find nonbelievers far more accepting. We don’t have to love because we are commanded to love. We don’t have to exclude because we are commanded to exclude. We are more apt to simply love people as they because deep down we believe most people are generally good.”–TWMYes. I can just feel the love and acceptance of the atheists on this thread. It just oozes and drips from every post. You seem to be quite the loving, accepting crowd. ;-)“This is in stark contrast to your beliefs which consign human to the never ending apology for our shortcomings.”–TWMYou have no idea how far removed from biblical Christianity that statement actually is.“What’s your experience RC regarding acceptance of gay couples to your church?”–TWMIf you will oblige me by responding to my last series of posts on the other thread I would be happy to reply to that question.

  • RCofield

    TW,“Secular support for Jesus is virtually nonexistent.”–TWMRiiight. Christianity holds the dubious position of being a religion founded upon a person who, when atheists reject every conceivable source of evidence, simply never existed. What ARE we thinking?“This is no organ that is irreducibly complex.”–TWMSuuure. And it is also an organ that could not have possibly “evolved.” Dawkins’ (and others) explanations of this “magical” process as it pertains to the eye is so filled with untested and untestable hypotheses (not to mention sheer speculation) it is rendered utterly laughable. The untold millions of “intermediate” stages of the “evolution” of the eye would hardly have produced “desirable traits.” The mathematical improbability of this process of the “evolving eye” is completely off the charts.You guys will buy anything Dawkins happens to be pedaling, won’t you?

  • Carstonio

    A thoughtful entry by Hirschfield. In my experience, most atheists aren’t angry at “God.” They’re angry instead at the minority of believers who would consign the world to hell if it doesn’t “get right with God,” and at the ones who claim that the the victims of natural disasters had it coming.What this study tells us is that there is a human desire to express outrage at the existence of evil and tragedy. There appears to be a need to ascribe authorship and even will on the part of that author, when we experience tough times. While that need may or may not be natural, it’s a need that we simply have to overcome in ourselves. That’s because it’s the same need that leads some believers to describe natural disasters as divine punishment. This doesn’t mean overcoming belief in gods, it means that outrage at evil and tragedy is an insufficient reason to believe that gods exist. To put it more simply, wanting something to be so doesn’t mean that it is so. I suspect that some (not all) people who believe in gods really crave some level of control over their suffering or the world’s suffering. What would such people do if, say, it turned out that gods exist but that such gods have nothing to do with suffering? What if gods didn’t create the universe and have no power to cause events in the universe? What if gods aren’t aware of human suffering or even of the existence of humans?

  • Carstonio

    For clarification, the paragraph that begins with “What this study tells us” is a quote from Hirschfield’s column.

  • Freestinker

    (Quoting Jefferson the Deist–it always amuses me when an atheist quotes a Deist) “Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity.”Baloney. The doctrine of the Trinity had been well articulated and ably defended for the better part of 1500 years before Jefferson made that statement==========RC,When a Deist is right, I don’t mind quoting him! I even quote Christians when they are right. ;)The Trinity is well-articulated? Well-articulated maybe but still illogical mush. Nowhere else can one be three and three be one and still be considered intelligible.And where, by the way, in Genesis I do you find any mention at all of the Trinity?

  • ThomasBaum

    Freestinker It wasn’t to me but you did ask, “And where, by the way, in Genesis I do you find any mention at all of the Trinity?”It is alluded to in Gen I:26, Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 2Hmmm…I don’t know about that “no one denies that” part. I suspect the forthcoming responses to my post here will prove my point.“But the evidence we do have for it is overwhelming.”–GRThe “evidence” only overwhelms those who interpret it while unrelentingly presupposing evolution. That is hardly a credible approach, scientifically or rationally.“I am an atheist. I do not reject the existence of Jesus. There may very well have been a man, called Jesus at the time and place spoken of in the Bible. In the same way, exactly, that I do not deny the existence of a man called Robin Hood as documented in the time and place as described in countless tales in medieval folklore. However, if that folklore included tales of Robin Hood strapping geese to his feet and then flying over a castle wall, well, that’s about the point where I start becoming skeptical. I still don’t necessarily doubt RH’s possible existence, just the miraculously, supernatural feats attributed to him.”–GRAside from the obvious apples/oranges comparison there, that sounds like an argument based on nothing BUT incredulity to me. I thought you said the argument from incredulity was hardly ever used in logical debate anymore?! :-)“* I know what you’re thinking. That some atheists claim that ‘god cannot exist’ is also an argument from incredulity. I agree. However most atheists actually assert only that there is simply not enough evidence to support the existence of god as described in ancient texts and modern religions. That’s where most of us are.”–GR…. :-) ….. A little “preemptive apologetics” there, huh? My point was (and remains) that atheists consistently reject commonly accepted standards of evidence when it comes to the person an nature of God.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 1 of 2Thanks for the interaction.“Based on what knowledge can you assert that something ‘could not have possibly evolved’?”–GRIn the case of the eye (the “something” being discussed), the laws of reason and the laws of mathematics (as related to probability theory).“Your statement of what could or could not have possibly evolved is scientifically baseless.”–GRAnd your contention that the eye evolved is scientifically presumptive.“It is nothing more than an ‘argument from incredulity.’ The unlikelihood of any one thing being or occurring does not demonstrate its nonexistence or impossibility, only its statistical unlikelihood.*”–GRYour “*” actually makes my case for me. Arguing from incredulity is not excluded in rational debate. It is—when rightly used—based on the science of mathematics, probably :-) the purest and the most incorruptible of the sciences. “However, as with evolution theory, if you spread it out over a population of billions of rats over millions of years, the ‘improbability’ factor becomes much less mathematically certain.”–GRActually, when one takes into account all of the massive number of “factors” necessary in the “evolution” of the eye, the exact opposite is true: The mathematical improbability of such happening is completely off the chart. One simply cannot come up with enough “rats” or years to offset the inexorable demands of statistical probability.

  • Freestinker

    “My point was (and remains) that atheists consistently reject commonly accepted standards of evidence when it comes to the person an nature of God.”========RC,Let’s see the “evidence” then? I seriously doubt that your “evidence” is in any way “commonly accepted”. You have just as much evidence for the existence of your god as the Greeks did for the existence of Zeus and as I do for the existence of Santa Claus. Precisely none.But go ahead, please humor us with your “evidence”, commonly accepted or otherwise.

  • Secular

    “Yes. I’m sure, now that you point it out with such scintilating logic (sic), that their murderous intent had nothing whatever to do with their godlessness. What was I thinking?!Riiight. I guess the fact that they were “equal opportunity offenders” elevates them several notches above the “religious” despots, huh? This “progressive zeitgeist” morality of yours is indeed breathtaking to behold.”

  • RCofield

    SECULAR, (My old Satanic adversary)”RCOFeild, the point I was making was in context to your claim that these tyrants were motivated by their atheism. The evidence I presented refutes your claim. That in no way suggests that the bloody acts are tolerable, none whatsoever. However as usual you are conflating things.”–SECULARPrecisely what “evidence” have you “presented” that “refutes” that these men were motivated by godlessness? Methinks it is you who are “conflating things.”

  • RCofield

    FREESTINKER,“The Trinity is well-articulated? Well-articulated maybe but still illogical mush. Nowhere else can one be three and three be one and still be considered intelligible.”–FSNowhere else? Try this: I, being one person, am husband, father, and grandfather. Caution: this may strain your “freestinking” abilities. :-) “Let’s see the “evidence” then? I seriously doubt that your “evidence” is in any way “commonly accepted”.”–FSOk. Let’s start with a question: From whence came the universe?

  • Secular

    Actually, when one takes into account all of the massive number of “factors” necessary in the “evolution” of the eye, the exact opposite is true: The mathematical improbability of such happening is completely off the chart. One simply cannot come up with enough “rats” or years to offset the inexorable demands of statistical probability.Posted by: RCofieldThe argument of improbability that is advanced by the creationists, against evolution is a very naive argument. Take for instance what are the probabilities in a game of bridge that the four hands that were dealt happening. With a properly shuffled deck it is astronomically small. But the fact of the matter is it happens

  • Freestinker

    Nowhere else? Try this: I, being one person, am husband, father, and grandfather. Caution: this may strain your “freestinking” abilities. :-)———-Cute but you are still just a single “being” no matter how many roles you may have.The Trinity claims to be three distinct beings AND one distinct being at the same time. Huh?===============——–For all we know, the universe has always existed but at this point we just don’t know … cue the god of the gaps.Next.

  • gladerunner

    (RCOFIELD) I“It is—when rightly used—based on the science of mathematics, probably :-) the purest and the most incorruptible of the sciences.”“The mathematical improbability of such happening is completely off the chart”“The “evidence” only overwhelms those who interpret it while unrelentingly presupposing evolution.”(Cntd)

  • gibsonpolk

    If religious beliefs were actually true, religions would not need to scare people into believing them. No one needs to threaten me into believing the earth is round and orbits the sun. If I don’t believe this, then it’s my problem. But religions know that their beliefs are a house of cards that cannot withstand questioning, so they invent threatening terms like “heresy”, “blasphemy”, “sacrilege,” and “eternal damnation” to keep the flock in line.These tactics are, so obvious to anyone who allows themselves to think about it, necessary ONLY because religious claims are outlandish and difficult to believe. The priesthood knows that without slavish believers they would have to go out and get real jobs (and pay taxes).

  • RCofield

    FREESTINKER<"The Trinity claims to be three distinct beings AND one distinct being at the same time. Huh?"–FSAhhh. I see that the problem is not that the doctrine of the Trinity is nonsensical; you just don't what the doctrine states. You might want to brush up on that a bit."For all we know, the universe has always existed but at this point we just don't know … cue the god of the gaps."–FSHmmm…So you're going with the "eternal universe" cop-out, eh? You do know, don't you, that you just stepped out of line with current scientific theory.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD II:“One simply cannot come up with enough “rats” or years to offset the inexorable demands of statistical probability.” Certainly one can. We are talking about organisms that have evolved, in billions of organisms, over tens of millions of years. It is not about the odds that one pair of rats creates a rat with wings, but that of billions of rat-matings over millions of years. Each of those rats having millions of DNA bits, the vast majority of which are common to nearly ALL living organisms and not at all specific to being just a rat as we know a rat to be. As SECULAR has pointed out, there’s more to it than a straight-line linear probability curve. “Aside from the obvious apples/oranges comparison there”“A little “preemptive apologetics” there, huh”“atheists consistently reject commonly accepted standards of evidence when it comes to the person an nature of God.”“you just moved the whole equation into the nether-regions of probability”If you are going to use scientific methodology to disprove evolution, then the same theories must logically be applied to prove or disprove your opposing theory. Or else YOU are just pitting apples against oranges.

  • Secular

    That’s quite a liberal factor you prescribe for beneficial mutations–given that there are thousands of known deleterious mutations for every known beneficial mutation.Add to that your admitted “astronomically greater than 1.0.” probability of said beneficial mutation even surviving…you just moved thhances of a beneficial mutation are whole equation into the nether-regions of probability 0.

  • twmatthews

    RCOfield said: And this does not even take into account that we have NEVER observed the complete (or even mostly-complete) “evolution” of an eyeball.Try looking up flatfish and some types of jellyfish. The flatfish has a rudimentary eye with no lens for focusing. It can sense light but not “see” things as we understand the word see to mean.Certain jellyfish have light sensing organs and a small lens. They can actually “see” objects. The real question about jellyfish amounts to how they can process an image with such a fundamentally underdeveloped brain. It usually takes a fairly advanced brain in order to process images and make sense of them. Our brain, for instance, receives visual data as inverted images. It’s the brain that inverts it for us. The eye actually provides remarkably good evidence for evolution. We know, based on natural selection that the eyes of a predator will be different in position from the eyes of prey. Simply observe cows and deer and you’ll notice that most prey have eyes on either side of their head; this to give them a wider view of suspected threats.While predators usually have eyes in the front so that they can focus on the attack. This evolutionary difference between predator and prey seems obvious once you think about it. During evolutionary development, the prey with eyes resulting in even a slightly wider field of vision will have an advantage in seeing predators earlier. Hence, they may survive longer to pass along their “wide eyed” genes.The same concept applies to predators except that with eyes in the front, they have a better chance of killing and eating more prey than a sibling with eyes less frontally oriented.This same concept applies to everything from flying squirrels to fish with extended fins that can wallow between mud holes when a dry season took hold.Or, you can say God designed it that way but then you would be ignoring literally tens of thousands of pieces of evidence in favor of evolution. But it’s no wonder the US is 28th out of 29 developed countries in terms of understanding science and scientific principles. There aren’t too many advances that I know of where the engineer said “it was at this point where God created the blu-ray laser”.

  • peterhuff

    Hi RCofield,It looks like you have your hands full. (^8I agree with your comment concerning TWM.Don’t we still have some unfinished discussion remaining on the other thread? You never responded to my last series of posts. -RCOTWMatthews, I agree with RCO on the above statement. We appreciate your banter, but it seemed that you always cut out before the hard questions are addressed.

  • RCofield

    TW,What’s the deal? Did you tire of our debate on the other thread? You never did respond to my last series of posts, though you said my arguments were well-thought-out and that you would respond. This is the third time you have “disappeared” in the middle of a debate only to “reappear” later with no seeming recollection of the previous discussion. What’s up with that?Anyway, I’ll oblige you here, but could I be so bold as to ask that you reciprocate on the other thread?“Try looking up flatfish and some types of jellyfish. The flatfish has a rudimentary eye with no lens for focusing. It can sense light but not “see” things as we understand the word see to mean.”—TWMAnd your point is? These examples are not observable complete evolutions of the eye. You are making an incredible number of unobserved/unproven assumptions to even suggest such. As with most of your “defenses” of evolution theory, your conclusion is contained in your premises. Watch:“The eye actually provides remarkably good evidence for evolution. We know, based on natural selection…”—TWMSee? You argue from one of the most prominent principles in evolution theory (natural selection)to produce “remarkably good evidence” for…(wait for it…)….evolution! Now, let’s presume that I argued for the veracity of the bible using the bible as my “remarkably good evidence” for the veracity of the bible. Would that fly with you? No. Yet you do exactly the same thing to “prove” your position on evolution. That is weak, TW.No, it only “seems obvious” if you presuppose evolution. Notice your very next statement:“During evolutionary development, the prey with eyes resulting in even a slightly wider field of vision will have an advantage….”—TWMSee that? You presuppose that evolution explains the difference between predator and prey, and then proceed to “explain” how the “evolutionary development” of “prey” is evidence of evolution. That is a circular argument. Then, you cap it all of with this little gem:“Or, you can say God designed it that way but then you would be ignoring literally tens of thousands of pieces of evidence in favor of evolution.”—TWMLOL. Your “tens of thousands of pieces of evidence” only favor evolution if they are interpreted BY evolutionary principles. Again, in every point of your argument, your conclusion is already contained in your premises! That is extremely poor reasoning, not to mention that it completely ignores the requirements of scientific method. Imagine a scientist stating a hypothesis in which everything proposed for the testing of his hypothesis already presupposes his hypothetical conclusion. What do you think his hypothesis will “prove” when tested? Why, his “conclusion,” of course. Does such a hypothesis “prove” anything. Not by a long shot.

  • RCofield

    Hey Peter,Yeah, I got tired of waiting for the guys on the other thread to answer me, so I decided to jump in here and see if I could start an argument. It seems I have succeeded. I love it. :-)Don’t know if you saw it but Walter finally posted on the thread he had suggested jumping to. But he is waffling and trying to evade my arguments. I’m not going to let him off the hook though.Peace, brother.

  • RCofield

    SECULAR, (My old Satanic adversary)”As usual true to your MO you are conflating and deliberately trying misconstruing my arguments to muddy the waters. If you cannot exhibit intellectual honesty, there is no point engaging you in any discussion. If you wish to believe the fairy tales of trinity, which are without any evidence be my guest. But don’t foist it as some scientific knowledge. It is not.”–SECULARYou obviously didn’t even understand my rebuttal to your argument. So, as per your MO, you simply dismiss it as “conflation.” Then accuse me of intellectual dishonesty.Yeah. Right.BTW: I have never claimed “scientific knowledge” for the doctrine of the Trinity. Who is being “intellectually dishonest” here?I’m sure, based on the tenor of that last post, that you are close to bugging out here, as per usual, so….see ya later.

  • twmatthews

    RCOfield and Peterhuff,Unfortunately, I don’t always have to the time to respond to those items requiring a lot of thought. These particular posts about evolution are much easier and require less time. Plus, I was away for a number of days and despite the best of intentions, couldn’t get back to that particular post for quite some time.RCO: And your point is? These examples are not observable complete evolutions of the eye. You are making an incredible number of unobserved/unproven assumptions to even suggest such. As with most of your “defenses” of evolution theory, your conclusion is contained in your premises. Watch:TWM: First of all, there is no such thing as complete evolution. That’s your first mistake since evolution is on-going. There is no end because there is no predetermined design.Second, there are literally thousands of different kinds of eyes in this world ranging from the most rudimentary which can do nothing more than detecting light to more advanced that can see faint images and even more advanced that can process images in color. My personal favorite, most advanced eye being the owl’s which can see a mouse running at the back of center field in an enclosed professional baseball stadium with only a single candle lit at home plate. Is the owl’s eye finished evolving? Nope.RCO: See? You argue from one of the most prominent principles in evolution theory (natural selection)to produce “remarkably good evidence” for…(wait for it…)….evolution!TWM: I think you are confusing the process (natural selection) with the outcome (evolution or changes in species resulting from a combination of natural selection, environmental change and genetic mutation).RC: Now, let’s presume that I argued for the veracity of the bible using the bible as my “remarkably good evidence” for the veracity of the bible. Would that fly with you? No. Yet you do exactly the same thing to “prove” your position on evolution. That is weak, TW.TWM: And you would be correct about the circular nature of your argument regarding the bible. But my argument is that the evidence for evolution or how species change over time is enabled by natural selection. I’m not confusing the two like you seem to be. In the case of the differentiation between the eye position of prey versus predator, you’ll find that those organisms needing a wider field of vision, characterized by eyes on both sides of their head, are almost always prey. Look around, you’ll notice the distinction by some simple observation. And I guess that’s the difference between your position and mine. You need a magical spirit to help you properly interpret the “truth”. Science attempts to explain phenomena through observation and hypothesis. We don’t need the holy spirit nor divine revelation. You too can form scientific theories simply by observing and noting. So, how many prey can you name that have front facing eyes?

  • peterhuff

    Hi Freestinker,In response to RCofields husband, father, and grandfather illustration you said,”Cute but you are still just a single “being” no matter how many roles you may have.You are a distinct person, so am I and yet we are both human beings by nature – one. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct persons and yet equally and inseparably one in nature, unity, eternity, omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence, to name just a few of the attributes that makes God God.The One triune God has revealed Himself as such in the Bible from Genesis 1:1-3, 26-27; John 1:1-3; Matthew 28:19 and throughout the 66 different books.Some of the early church fathers expressed the Trinity much clearer, but I don’t have the quotes offhand.”For all we know, the universe has always existed but at this point we just don’t know … cue the god of the gaps.I’m glad you admitted that you don’t know. This makes your belief one that rests on faith and philosophical presuppositions.How can you rule out God when you have no definite answers to how the universe came to be? And as for the universe always existing, you would be going against the best scientific evidence and speculation to this point in time, that I might add agrees with the Bible in one significant point; there was a beginning. Time, space and matter had a beginning, as per Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. This notion from Richard Dawkins’ that we live in multiple universes is pure speculation, as he has himself admitted. There is nothing to base it on but imagination, just like so much of evolutionary science is based on.

  • twmatthews

    RCOfield and Peterhuff, Gentlemen, I finally went back to that other post only to find it would not let me comment further. Here’s what I wrote:To Peterhuff and RCO (yes, I’m finally able to respond to this post. My apologies for taking so long. I have been away for a number of days.)RCO: I will answer that, but first let me turn the question around on you. By what standard do you (and your clients) discern the meaning of your software licensing agreements? I mean, if 1,000 people read your licensing agreements, it is not inconceivable that you could have literally dozens of different interpretations, right? Does that mean that your licensing agreements are completely ambiguous? I, for your sake, certainly hope not! I’ll come back to this in a moment.TWM: Perfect. This is the exact point I was going to make. Thank you for that. We have very clearly written documents and even those are subject to personal interpretation. That’s why we have judges and courts — to decide what the words mean and which laws, if any, apply.Now, if you were to tell me that there is a judge up in the sky who tells us when we are making the wrong interpretation I would say you are dreaming. There’s no evidence that God, the holy spirit or the blessed virgin Mary, is helping you or anyone else understand the bible. You used the word interpretation, preceded by a whole bunch of adjectives.So the Pope’s understanding of what is moral or immoral is based on his divine revelation and his literal/grammatical/historical/canonical interpretation of the bible. But I bet that there are many moral issues of which you and the Pope disagree. How is that possible? Is he not being guided by the same holy spirit that guides you? Are you misunderstanding things in spite of the best efforts of the holy spirit or is it just possible that men (and women) of faith can read the same pages of the same version of the same book, and come away with vastly different understandings.Let me ask you a simple question: Is artificial birth control, like use of condoms, immoral?More to come. In the mean, answer that simple question according to your best interpretation of what God has defined as moral and let me know whether birth control is immoral.

  • twmatthews

    Hello Peter, I hope you are well.Peterhuff: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are distinct persons and yet equally and inseparably one in nature, unity, eternity, omniscience, omnipotence, and benevolence, to name just a few of the attributes that makes God God.TWM: Let’s talk a minute about the omniscience of God and maybe you can explain something to me. If God is omniscience why didn’t he anticipate what the serpent would do once he had Eve all alone? Didn’t he see that coming after all, at that time there were really only two humans under his care; not nearly the load of watching over 7 billion, right?And another related question. Before Eve ate of the fruit, it is my understanding that both her and Adam were completely innocent — not knowing right from wrong. Is that right?So, if Eve did not know what was right from what was wrong, how could she be expected to know that when God told her something that this was “right” but when the serpent told her something, then that was “wrong” to listen to him/it?It looks like humanity got a bum rap because God, who should have anticipated what the serpent would do, didn’t. Eve, who didn’t know one voice was bad while the other was good, listened to the wrong voice and God punished humanity forever for that.That’s like the baby sitter having one too many beers, the 3 year old knocks over a candle and burns the house down and everyone blames the baby. This is just one of a number of logical fallacies underlying the reasonableness of the whole Adam and Eve myth. In addition, it really shows that believers don’t want to hold God accountable for anything bad, despite what it looks like.

  • twmatthews

    Peterhuff, commenting on your responses to FreeStinker.Peter: I’m glad you admitted that you don’t know. This makes your belief one that rests on faith and philosophical presuppositions.TWM: That is a big difference between a believer and a nonbeliever. Believers claim to “know” that which they can’t possibly know.Peter: How can you rule out God when you have no definite answers to how the universe came to be? TWM: Because we know when time started with the big bang. We don’t know whether this particular universe had anything “before” that since time didn’t exist, there is no before.Peter: And as for the universe always existing, you would be going against the best scientific evidence and speculation to this point in time, that I might add agrees with the Bible in one significant point; there was a beginning.TWM: Actually, it’s Hawking that claims multiple universes uniting quantum and string theories. I have to admit that the math and even the concepts are far beyond my comprehension. But these hypotheses are no different than Einstein’s special relativity which was mathematically deduced, far before we had any instruments capable of verifying E=mc(2).

  • peterhuff

    Hi TWMatthews, RCofield,RCO, I’m with you on the circular argument that TWM is presenting. When you get to the nuts and bolts of any argument it is extremely hard to avoid this circular reasoning. One of the things that I find amusing about evolutionary science is that it take something we have in common or something similar in nature with another kind of creature and read into this a common ancestry. Another is a rare and non-repeatable event is assumed to have happened the way evolutionists believe it to have happened because of their starting presuppositions. Yet when we offer a rare and special event that is based on the same kind of evidence that they use – unrepeatable by science – they claim that our evidence, our proofs are non-existent. It is funny how an eye that is designed for different functions can be read to be evolving from a common ancestor. What we see/witness as evolving has limits to that evolution and that evolution is to its own kind. The examples that Darwin used were all micro-evolutionary changes, something that Christians can agree with because God has created us to change within our kind. The peppered moth is still a peppered moth. It just is able to adapt to its environment.A finch still is a finch no matter how much its beak changes due to drought conditions. Animal husbandry can breed changes within the boundaries that God has designed and no further. The example used before on this blog were between two different breeds of dog, but a dog is still a dog.A fruit fly, no matter how many generations it is bombarded by radiation in attempts to mutate it to a new kind is still a fruit fly. This is what we witness, what we observe in science. The rest is philosophical naturalism. Darwin’s magical ingredient is time coupled with chance – unintentional blind random happenstance.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 3“Science only tries to explain, in physical terms that which is observed in nature. If your god resides outside of that nature, then you have nothing to worry about. We may indeed just be looking at his toolkit.”–GRI agree with all three of your above statements without reservation. “Evolution was not ‘presupposed’ as you imply.”—GRIt does seem to be in every example you have given thus far.“Evolution, which is only our best explanation currently available, came about and was greatly debated and criticized. Mountains of ‘evidence’ supporting it were required before it became commonly acceptable.”—GRYet every argument in favor of evolution I have encountered to date does seem to presuppose evolution. I’ve heard this “mountains of supporting evidence” postulated too many times to count. Yet, when the postulators are called upon to state their evidence it always seems to start by assuming evolution and working out from there. Even pawpaw Darwin was influenced to presuppose evolution in the formation of the theory.“And yes I suppose we often presuppose it now, but should actual new evidence (not just a lack of evidence) come forth, as in the past, science will steer toward another, better theory.”—GRBut wouldn’t you agree with me that there is a tipping point of no return if enough “evidence” is amassed in “favor” of the theory BY the theory? In other words, is it possible to arrive at a point when one will no longer entertain any other explanatory possibilities? Assuming you agree that this is possible, isn’t that more than a little dangerous? What you are arguing here may be nothing more than adaptation, but a couple of questions here. Aren’t you just multiplying variables (especially when you bring in DNA)? And aren’t statistical probabilities reduced rather than increased with the addition of variables? And it should be noted here that our discussion to date has not even scratched the surface of the impossible number of variables necessary for speciation. “What apples and oranges? How is Jesus different from Robin Hood?”—GRYou’re kidding, right? Have you not read the respective books? :-)

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 1 of 3Your arguments are considerably more cogent than most on this thread. Though I don’t necessarily agree with all of your conclusions, I do appreciate the civil dialog.“‘Rational debate’ may be ‘based on’ but it is not the ‘same as’ mathematics. Mathematics provides for demonstrability, testability. ‘Reason’ does not necessarily do so.”—GRHmm…An atheist that recognizes the limitations of reason. You are a cat of a different stripe than most atheists that I have encountered. I find your above statements intriguing. I’m sure I will have opportunity to revisit them in due course. “Yet the probability of a cosmic, invisible, all-powerful creator-being, spitting into dust and creating not just an opossum, but an entire universe, is MORE likely?”—GRStatistical probabilities only measure probability within the natural universe. At least as far as we know, anyway.You are presupposing that the “external influences” were favorable for beneficial mutations. Unless, of course, we appeal to the fact that organisms exist as evidence for evolution—but then that would be a circular argument, wouldn’t it?“Yes I know, I stayed within a species. I’m not trying to solve/prove the whole theory here, just making a smaller point.”—GRIndeed you did “stay within a species.” Take out the purposeful human manipulation (a far cry from “natural selection”) through the breeding process and your presupposition of evolution and all you have is adaptation within a species. This certainly does not prove speciation. “And in science there is nothing wrong with being presumptive.”—GRThere is when your supporting premises are formulated BY your presupposed conclusion. “If your attempt to prove the existence of your god involves beating up science with science, then you’re using the wrong weapon.”—GRFor the record, that is not what I am attempting to do here. I have a whole other set of arguments for the existence of God. I’m simply trying to hold the “scientific evidence” being offered here to the standards of the scientific method. Being an apparent empiricist, I’m sure you would agree to the necessity of that.

  • dangeroustalk

    Epic Fail here Brad. You should have actually read the study before commenting on it in such a ridiculous way. Here is an article I just wrote about it after going through the study. Check it out:Are atheists angry with God? -

  • peterhuff

    Hi TWMatthews,”If God is omniscience why didn’t he anticipate what the serpent would do once he had Eve all alone? Didn’t he see that coming…?” – TWMYou are making the assumption that God did not anticipate it, not me. The definition of omniscience is all knowing. He gave Adam and Eve the freewill to experience His love and that relationship with Him. They chose to reject it and do their own thing as He knew they would, and yet before the foundation of the world there was the plan to send the Son so that man can have that relationship with Him. “…Before Eve ate of the fruit, it is my understanding that both her and Adam were completely innocent — not knowing right from wrong. Is that right?” – TWMNot knowing evil. The understanding of good and evil came with disobeying God. All that God had created was good, very good. By God’s standard that must be perfect. But the creature/man is limited even if he is made in the image and likeness of God. If he wasn’t limited in knowledge then there would be no distinction between God and what God has made, yet there is, for there is only one God. So man’s limited understanding of knowing only good changed when he took the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”So, if Eve did not know what was right from what was wrong, how could she be expected to know that when God told her something that this was “right” but when the serpent told her something, then that was “wrong” to listen to him/it?”She knew only good until the point of taking the fruit; then she also knew what was evil.I’m speculating here, maybe RCofield can give you a better answer, but if she and Adam had chosen to ‘walk with God’ and continued in their relationship she would have learned to trust God in His goodness, instead of another creature that He had made that had already chosen to rebel against God.”It looks like humanity got a bum rap because God, who should have anticipated what the serpent would do, didn’t. Eve, who didn’t know one voice was bad while the other was good, listened to the wrong voice and God punished humanity forever for that.”God did anticipate it. Read Ephesians 1:3-11 or Romans 8:28-39 for starters. What better way for God to show both His love and mercy, in saving those who would believe, as well as His justice – always doing what is right in punishing evil or what goes against His nature, His goodness, the way He is. “…it really shows that believers don’t want to hold God accountable for anything bad, despite what it looks like.” -TWMLooks can be deceiving. We cannot fathom much of what is real and true with our finite minds and yet God sees how every detail of every event is related because He lives in the eternal present or outside of time. He knows every aspect of His creation, for He made it, we don’t.As Christians we recognize and understand that God is good, there is no evil in Him. We take Him on His authority, not ours. That is part of submission.

  • Carstonio

    I find it interesting and ironic that whenever atheists tangle with believers in forums like this, most of the atheists seem to make the same assumptions about supernatural as the believers. Both sides start from the premise of a single omnimax god that created the universe and created humanity. I would have expected at least one atheist to accuse believers of trying to control the terms of the debate. It seems apparent that both sides are working from the same set of cultural and theological assumptions when there’s no need to do so. As an example, I would like to know the rationale by both sides for rejecting polytheism or spirit religions. The ancient Greeks and Norse did not believe that their gods created the universe, and the latter did not believe their gods to be omnipotent and omniscient.

  • Secular

    “I find it interesting and ironic that whenever atheists tangle with believers in forums like this, most of the atheists seem to make the same assumptions about supernatural as the believers. Both sides start from the premise of a single omnimax god that created the universe and created humanity. I would have expected at least one atheist to accuse believers of trying to control the terms of the debate. It seems apparent that both sides are working from the same set of cultural and theological assumptions when there’s no need to do so. As an example, I would like to know the rationale by both sides for rejecting polytheism or spirit religions. The ancient Greeks and Norse did not believe that their gods created the universe, and the latter did not believe their gods to be omnipotent and omniscient.Posted by: Carstonio | January 6, 2011 6:21 AM”+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++It is not the case of atheists and the believers working from the same premise. The atheists are here to show the truth claims of the believers are without substance. So we have to refute and demand the believers to show evidence for their truth claims. Refuting or demanding evidence for other truth claims would actually be ducking the proposition of the believers. If and when we run into people of the persuasion you cited we certainly will challenge them on their grounds.

  • morryb

    Of course there is a God. He wrote a book. Problem is what will he do to us when we pass? Some think we will go up to heaven – somewhere up there in the vacuum of space- and live happily ever after next to Jesus or Mohammad. Some may not make it and be confined to a place called hell and burned everlastingly. The Jesus believers consider that their belief system is correct and all the Mohammad believers will go to hell. The Mohammad believers think that the opposite will happen. Obviously very rational thinking is going on here. Me, I prefer Zeus.

  • ThomasBaum

    Carstonio You wrote, ” As an example, I would like to know the rationale by both sides for rejecting polytheism or spirit religions. The ancient Greeks and Norse did not believe that their gods created the universe, and the latter did not believe their gods to be omnipotent and omniscient.”I can’t speak for anyone else, but since I met Dad and the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit revealed to me that the Catholic Eucharist is Jesus and I’ve also met satan and experienced hell and spiritual death, to mention some of what I have been thru, this is why I speak of God being One and yet a Trinity and a Being of Pure Love.I find it rather sad, to put it mildly, that some, including those that actually know God’s Name, think of God as a loser.It doesn’t seem to me to be even remotely “Christian” to be happy about going to the “good place” and not caring one iota that some would go to a place beyond horrible, way beyond, for ever and ever and ever… , and yet this is exactly what many seem to believe and, even much worse, what some seem to be looking forward to.If God were even remotely like what some “Christians” present God to be, I ask, who, with even the most tiniest shred of decency, would want to have anything to do with such a thing?I thank God that God’s Plan is, ultimately, for EVERYONE to be in God’s Kindgom.Whether one believes in God or not, there is a statement attributed to God: “My Ways are not your ways and My Thoughts are not your thoughts”.See you ALL in the Kingdom.Hope you’re doing fine.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • Freestinker

    “How can you rule out God when you have no definite answers to how the universe came to be?”=======PeterHuff,I haven’t ruled god(s) out, I just haven’t ruled them in! :)

  • Freestinker

    “I find it interesting and ironic that whenever atheists tangle with believers in forums like this, most of the atheists seem to make the same assumptions about supernatural as the believers. Both sides start from the premise of a single omnimax god that created the universe and created humanity.”=======Carstonio,I agree. That’s why I prefer to use the notation god(s) or gods to refer to the supernatural claims of theists. Using the plural form without caps is a much more accurate word for what is really in question.This construct immediately challenges the initial unsubstantiated assumptions of most theists (that there is only one god and it is their god) right from the start.Gods might very well exist but maybe just the Greek gods? Or maybe just the Toothe Fairy. How the hell are we ever going to know exactly how many exist and which ones they are?

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:Part 1.“An atheist that recognizes the limitations of reason”As for ‘empiricism’ ( I had to look it up to be sure) I suppose that is an adequate enough label for my ‘philosophy’ in many aspects of my relationship and understanding with the physical universe. However I’ll remind you, since I am not schooled in philosophy, I may stray from the label from time to time, unfamiliar as I am of its exact boundaries. ;-)As for the meat of the debate, I’ll try to clarify a few things before ripping your individual arguments to shreds… (just kidding)

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:Science, in any aspect, is not perfect, it is not complete, and it is not infallible. It doesn’t explain everything. The parameters can change, science itself evolves, unapologetically. To borrow from an ad for a certain fishing lure: “It’s ugly, but it catches fish”.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,That was a delightfully frank series of posts, distinctly unlike the canned rhetoric of most atheists I have encountered. I am intrigued. Give me a little time, as I have a rather busy evening ahead of me, and I will get back to you.I think we have a few points of common ground from which to work.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Freestinker,”…I prefer to use the notation god(s) or gods to refer to the supernatural claims of theists. Using the plural form without caps is a much more accurate word for what is really in question.” -FSIf I was you I would be more interested in which is the true God. It would be preposterous to believe that different gods that each refute what the other said where all responsible for this universe. Argue with any person that believes in a different god than you do and you will find that their belief is totally different from what you believe. That is not to say that there are not elements of truth smattered in there. When I argue with a Muslim we both disagree on the nature, death, resurrection and life of Jesus, among other things such as their works righteous theology. We state opposite beliefs. Logically we both can’t be right in our beliefs. It goes against the laws of non-contradiction that you and I operate by every day in order to make sense of anything. “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the ONLY TRUE GOD, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) “This construct immediately challenges the initial unsubstantiated assumptions of most theists (that there is only one god and it is their god) right from the start.” -FSIt is not unsubstantiated with the Christian God, although I would agree with your assessment of all other gods, for all other gods are man made inventions. “Gods might very well exist but maybe just the Greek gods? Or maybe just the Toothe Fairy. How the hell are we ever going to know exactly how many exist and which ones they are?” -FSIdle speculation on your part.There are many evidences/proofs but I contend that your world-view will not allow you to accept the Christian God without Him first drawing you to Him. Your nature will otherwise resist Him with every ounce of your being because it is against Him and does not want to submit to His goodness.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“Presuming that you are happily married, have you ever tried to “prove” that you wife loves you by the use of the scientific method, a slide rule, and a microscope? :-) There are lots of things that we accept without empirical evidence.”“by that method of reasoning any concept that is controversial and difficult to understand should be rejected. You really don’t want to go too far down that road, do you?”Not necessarily rejected, but certainly held up for scrutiny. There’s several ways to handle this bit of information. There’s a lot of real estate between a simple, binary accept/reject policy for me. And it is usually analog, not binary.

  • peterhuff

    Hi getjiggly1 (if you are still around),Do you realize your argument fall flat on its face? You state:”Ah Fishcrow, enough with the “moral absolutes” bs. Of course there are no “moral absolutes.”"It is a self refuting statement. Once you state there are no moral absolutes you are stating a moral absolute, that there are none, except of course the one you state, which is one more than none. So your statement contradicts itself and therefore self-destructs. “Morality changes with changes in culture, values, and history. In ancient Greece it was absolutely “morally” acceptable to have a preteen male concubine. In Biblical times it was “morally” acceptable BY THE PEOPLE WHO PURPORTEDLY WROTE THE BIBLE to have slaves and slaughter innocent women and children so long as they were the enemy’s women and children. Your argument does not compute.”Two thoughts, one is that morality does change with different cultures and groups, so how can ‘right’ be determined without a moral absolute? If morality is nothing more than preference, then what makes it right? Hitler’s Germany, by your view, can be seen as morally ‘right’ as Mother Teresa’s Calcutta. Now, which would you prefer to live in? My second thought is that you do not understand biblical slavery and the concept behind it.

  • gladerunner

    PETERHUFF:“ so how can ‘right’ be determined without a moral absolute?”“If morality is nothing more than preference, then what makes it right”“My second thought is that you do not understand biblical slavery and the concept behind it.”“So your statement contradicts itself and therefore self-destructs”

  • peterhuff

    Hi TWMatthews,You said:”There is nothing irreducibly complex about the human eye. In fact, even Behe had to admit that his cellular pump, which he claimed to be irreducibly complex, could in fact be reduced to simpler and still functioning components.” – TWMSimpler maybe, but nevertheless designed. Many people thought his argument about the irreducible complexity of the mouse trap was shot down. Just because someone came up with a DESIGN that did not need everything that Behe proposed as needed for a mouse trap to function by CHANGING THE DESIGN they reasoned that what he said had been refuted. But the point I am making is THEY CHANGED THE DESIGN but it was still irreducibly complex in the redesign they made. Without one of the newly designed features the trap would still fail to work.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,My question:“ so how can ‘right’ be determined without a moral absolute?”Your response:”Socially accepted behavior. Which may vary from house to house, village to village, culture to culture, time to time. Enforced by social standards and practices which also varies between times/places. Sometimes laws may be enacted about the big ones, regarding murder/theft/violence towards others, sometimes merely by finger-wagging and gossip and social pressures alone.”So what makes that behavior ‘right’ or good or bad? Someones opinion? Whose?You are equating and confusing moral preference with moral good. In order for there to be good there must be an objective measure against which to measure good by. If each culture has a different standard then by which culture can we determine that what is believed to be good actually is? This is one of the strongest arguments against atheism in my opinion. Good becomes a blur that is determined by one person foistering their preference on another, or a leader and his/her cabinet determining what ‘good’ will be for his/her people by his/her preference on that society.Ravi Zacharias (building on a debate between G.K.Chesterton and an atheist) asked, ‘In some cultures they love their neighbors and in others they eat them. Which do you prefer?’That is all you have – preference. Now the question is whose, Hitler’s or Mother Teresa’s? Preference is what wars are fought over. A qualitative value must have an objective measure in order for it to be known. God has placed that value in the hearts/conscience of man who is made in His image and likeness. How would you know good unless there was something in which good can be measured by that does not change? Which society has the ‘right’ idea of abortion, the one that condones it or the one that condemns it?ME: “If morality is nothing more than preference, then what makes it right””It is not a binary battle between the extreme positions of universal absolute and individual personal preference, there are other options.” -GRWhich are?“So your statement contradicts itself and therefore self-destructs” – ME”Or it could just be more clearly stated for you as ‘morality is relative, there is no one universally accepted code of morality’.” – GRIs that relatively true or completely true? Are you stating a moral absolute when you say ‘there is no one universally accepted code of morality’ because you state it as if you are stating something that is universally known?Can you explain how something true can be relative? Can you explain whose idea of good is actually the ideal good that goodness can be measured by?How can truth ever be false?

  • peterhuff

    PS, Freestinker, please notice his language of speculation and his philosophic imagination at work.

  • peterhuff

    PS Freestinker, Great science hey?

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER“But WAIT! There’s ,more!”–GRWell, now! THAT sure did take an ugly turn, didn’t it? In the interest of keeping as much “egg” off my face as possible, could you maybe append “TBC” when “there’s more”? :-)You contend that you can prove empirically that your wife loves you. Let’s test that theory. I’ll substitute wife and myself in the test for obvious reasons.“Nope. She says she loves me,…”–GRMy wife says the same thing. She could by lying. “….her actions and attitudes do not belie or even seem to contradict that admission.”–GRThe same can be said about my wife’s actions and attitudes toward me. But I could be mistaking her attitudes and actions. She could have motives that I am not aware of.“The fact that she likes to make me laugh, she asks about my thoughts and seems genuinely interested in my feelings/emotions (as rare and understated as they are).”–GRDitto. But my wife could be manipulating me. “She chooses to live with me and spend time around me, etc.”–GRDitto again. Yet the possibility remains that she may be using me as a source of financial security.My point is simply this: You cannot empirically quantify love. You can’t put it under a microscope and look at it. You can’t hold it in your hands. You can’t hear it with your ears, smell it with your nose, or taste it with your tongue. In the end, though there seems to be every indication that my wife truly loves me, I have to believe that, to some degree, by a measure of faith. Not a “blind leap” of faith, mind you, for there does seem to be evidence that she loves me, but a degree of faith nonetheless. But I cannot prove that she loves me using the scientific method of empiricism. By the same token, neither can you empirically “prove” that your wife loves you. “There’s no microscope needed. I don’t need to test a tree’s DNA to recognize a tree if it’s right in front of me.”–GRThe tree is a physical object and can be empirically verified. You wife’s love for you has no physical properties and therefore cannot be empirically verified.The list of such things that we can know, virtually beyond any doubt, but cannot verify empirically is almost endless.Your “Best Burgers in the State” analogy is, in the final analysis, a subjective truth-claim. It’s veracity is subject to an almost endless list of personal preferences. As such, it may or may not be true, depending on the preferences of the individual making the determination.Conversely, your truth-claim that your wife loves you is an objective truth-claim. While not empirically verifiable, it can be reasonably accepted as true by a combination of a number of universally accepted observable evidences and a reasonable act of faith based on those evidences.The exact same thing is true of the objective truth-claims of scripture and Christianity.Your turn.

  • gladerunner

    PETERHUFF:

  • gladerunner

    PETERHUFF:

  • gladerunner

    PETERHUFF:“God has placed that value in the hearts/conscience of man”“How would you know good unless there was something in which good can be measured by that does not change?”“Which society has the ‘right’ idea of abortion, the one that condones it or the one that condemns it?”““So your statement contradicts itself and therefore self-destructs””“Can you explain how something true can be relative?”(Cntd.)

  • RCofield

    GLADRUNNER,Don’t mean to disrupt you here (you seem to have really hit your sermonic stride on this one), but I have a quick question.Are you saying that societies establish their own standards of morality internally with NO external influences whatsoever?And to abort a child or not abort a child is of no more moral consequence than choosing between cornflakes and snowflakes? Have you really thought that one out thoroughly?And I might also point out that every argument (premise) you have offered thus far already assumes your conclusion (no fixed moral standards). You are actually trying to use your conclusion to “prove” the veracity of your arguments. That’s bassackwards. :-)My point is simply that there may be (indeed, are) explanations for the examples that you are using (other than there being no fixed moral standards).

  • gladerunner

    PETERHUFF:“How can truth ever be false?”“Can you explain whose idea of good is actually the ideal good that goodness can be measured by?”That’s all for now.

  • Freestinker

    RCOFIELD wrote:The exact same thing is true of the objective truth-claims of scripture and Christianity.”RC,When I was a kid I believed in the Tooth Fairy. Every time I lost a tooth, I left it under my pillow. Each night the Tooth Fairy would come while I was sleeping and would leave a quarter in place of my tooth, just as Tooth Fairy scripture had predicted. Many of my friends observed the same phenomena though none of us ever observed the Fairy itself. How could we? The Tooth Fairy only comes AFTER you fall asleep and no one had ever been able to catch the all-knowing Tooth Fairy in the act. While not empirically verifiable, with a combination of a number of universally accepted observable evidences (quarters for teeth) and a reasonable act of faith based on those evidences, I concluded that the Tooth Fairy almost certainly does exist!The exact same thing is true of the objective truth-claims of scripture and Christianity.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:Nope. Not at all. Our own Founding Fathers voted with their feet to leave a society that they found intolerable/offensive/unacceptable. They then set about to create/define a new society (nation) based on experiences, political philosophies and concepts that already existed elsewhere either in reality or merely in writing. However, even within the new nation, with it’s newly defined standards, many of the old customs, traditions and non-constitutionally specified moral compass points remained within the society itself. I cannot imagine a society abandoning all previous/existing standards for a completely different set. “And to abort a child or not abort a child is of no more moral consequence than choosing between cornflakes and snowflakes?”“And I might also point out that every argument (premise) you have offered thus far already assumes your conclusion”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“Yet the possibility remains that she may be using me as a source of financial security”“By the same token, neither can you empirically “prove” that your wife loves you.”“The exact same thing is true of the objective truth-claims of scripture and Christianity.”“by a combination of a number of universally accepted observable evidences and a reasonable act of faith based on those evidences”

  • RCofield

    FREESTINKER,“While not empirically verifiable, with a combination of a number of universally accepted observable evidences (quarters for teeth) and a reasonable act of faith based on those evidences, I concluded that the Tooth Fairy almost certainly does exist!”–FSQuarters placed under pillows by parents are “universally accepted observable evidences” for the existence of the tooth fairy? I think that in your haste to break out the time-worn “tooth fairy” straw-man (or straw-woman?) on me you didn’t quite think that one all the way through. :-)

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 3 of 3Agreed. Part of my intention with that analogy was to demonstrate that you were not a pure, sensory-perception “empiricist.” No one ever is, though many atheists claim to be. In the final analysis you BELIEVE your wife loves you because you feel/sense the “effects” of her love, but you cannot hold her love in your hands. You have sufficient reason to believe your wife loves you, but by your own admission you don’t know that as an “absolute, irrefutable, or impossibly otherwise” fact. In other words, on the best evidence available to you, you have faith in your wife’s love for you. In a round-about way, you have defined the biblical concept of faith. “Where are the defining ‘objective’ parts inherent and unique to Christianity?”–GRThat is a very well-framed question, and one which any Christian worth their salt should be both glad to answer and capable of answering. That is exactly the question I am trying to lay the foundation to answer. For it to be done properly and convincingly, though, takes time, especially in this venue. So bear with me. “My main argument here would be with the term ‘universally observable evidences.’ as well as the ‘reasonableness’ of the act of faith. This could easily devolve into a semantics debate as well.”–GRI know that of which your speak. I don’t do semantics.Your turn.Peace, brother

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 3Your own example here clearly demonstrates the universality of moral standards. Slaves didn’t just become human in the 19th century. Nor did inhumane treatment of said slaves just become immoral in the 19th century. The inhumane treatment of humans was/is immoral in all places, cultures, and times—hence, we have, by your own argument, established that there is at least one fixed moral standard.I’ll come back to the abortion issue with you at a later date.“Can you do so without assuming your own conclusions? ;-)”–GRI think I can. May I depend on you to point it out for me anytime I ere? :-)“But you can feel/sense its effects.”–GRAhh! So you do accept the veracity of some things that you can’t verify by the empiricist’s view of scientific method and/or sensory perception. My point is that you cannot physically see your wife’s love. You feel its EFFECTS, but you can’t touch, see, smell, hear, or taste it. It is, in the final analysis, a non-physical thing. (Don’t take that and run with it. This venue is neither the time nor place… :-) ) So, if I can demonstrate to you non-physical things of which you can feel/sense their effects, you logically should have no problem with at least considering them objectively, right? “My wife could be lying, she could be manipulating, but doing so for twenty years? Why? Yiiiikes! Whatever you do, man, don’t make those statements to your wife…. :-) Her response to you would be further proof of my contention that you cannot physically quantify genuine love!“I’m not sure what you mean by ‘proof’ here’s how I use the word when talking about ‘scientific methodology: Proof–’The evidence or argument that compels the mind to accept an assertion as true.’ All the evidence and argument at my disposal compel me to believe my wife loves me. If by proof you mean ‘absolute, irrefutable, or impossibly otherwise, then we are not using the scientific method’s accepted definition of ‘proof’.”–GR

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 1 of 3Thanks for the responses. I genuinely am enjoying the dialog.“Nope. Not at all. Our own Founding Fathers voted with their feet to leave a society that they found intolerable/offensive/unacceptable….”–GRThe external influences you offer were not exactly what I had in mind, but in retrospect that question was probably about three steps ahead of where I want to go with this. Let’s put it on the back burner and work our way back to it, if that’s OK with you.Although I must say that I find your reference to our founding fathers “vot(ing) with their feet to leave a society they found intolerable/offensive/unacceptable…interesting. Do you recall the primary reason the souls on the Mayflower, Hollander, and Huguenot left their respective societies? The answer to that question is the seed-bed from which this nation’s government sprang. “I didn’t say that. I don’t recall addressing ‘moral consequence’ at all.”–GRPETER posed the question: “Which society has the ‘right’ idea of abortion, the one that condones it or the one that condemns it?” To which you responded: “Which is better/more right, corn flakes or snowflakes? ‘Right’ is also subjective to time/place/culture.” That seems to indicate that you view aborting/not aborting a child is no more ‘right’ (or wrong) than choosing cornflakes for snowflakes—that the choices are amoral. Have I misunderstood you? “Not to equate abortion with other things, but simply as a comparison of the process, let’s look again at slavery…..” etc.–GRI think you unravel your own argument here. You seem to make the case that, in days gone by, slaves were treated as animals since their owners did not view them as fully human. Modern societies now accept the “human-ness” of all humans, hence it is no longer acceptable to treat any human as an animal. Assuming that you agree that all humans are human… :-) …, a glaring question arises: Were the slaves of by-gone years human? It is indisputable that they were human. And they were, in your own words, “qualified for sympathies/moral indignation at their treatment.” This seems to me a rather obvious problem with the whole “relative morality” position. Do you not agree?

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner, Freestinker,I’m working 7am to 7pm shifts this weekend so I am going to ponder your thoughts until Sunday or Monday evening. Gladerunner, all you have shown me is relative subjective personal tastes. Without an objective criteria what makes your particular thoughts about good good? What makes one social convention better than another? If that is all you have to offer then what Hitler did is no better or worse than what Mother Teresa did, it just depends how you look upon it. Is this a correct assessment of your position?As for truth, whether it is relative to an individual/society, place/culture or time, or absolute to all people, cultures, places and times, if it is true it is true. You can’t have a truth that is false. If I was born in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia in 1956, that truth is relative to me but it is true. At no time in my life can that be false. What is true is always true. It can’t be false if indeed that is where and when I was born. And if it is true then it is absolutely true. I either was or was not born in Lusaka in 1956. That statement is either true or it is false. ME: “How can truth ever be false?”GR: “Quite simply. If you and I do not agree on the precise definitions of the words ‘truth’ and ‘false’ then it is likely we will have differences in opinion about what is true and what is false when we are talking about non-physical, non quantifiable, intellectual concepts.”Our disagreement or misunderstanding of truth does not make truth false.Regardless of our opinions, truth is true whether or not you and I can agree upon it. How can truth be otherwise. Please answer this question.Again you are confusing truth with opinion and belief. They don’t necessarily go together. GR: “But the philosophical debate is all merely academic and semantic.But the point over and over again is if it is true is is true. It can’t be otherwise.Sorry this is so rushed. I haven’t really separated your individual points. I’ll address both Freestinker’s and your other arguments later.

  • Carstonio

    How can you rule out God when you have no definite answers to how the universe came to be?That statement makes the assumption I was criticizing earlier, the idea that a god could and did create the universe. But the larger problem is the apparent assumption that we need definite answers for the origin of the universe. We don’t.Of course a god could have created the universe. The issue is that any proposed explanation for the origin has to be testable or at least falsifiable, and a god explanation is neither. A god explanation amounts to simply having an explanation for its own sake, as if having no explanation is to be avoided at all costs. If we don’t or can’t know if an explanation is correct or incorrect, then it’s worse than useless. Why not simply accept that we don’t have any explanation and live with that fact?

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIOPETERHUFF asked: “How can you rule out God when you have no definite answers to how the universe came to be?”You replied: “That statement makes the assumption I was criticizing earlier, the idea that a god could and did create the universe.”I don’t think that assumption is in the question there posed. Peter was simply pointing out that you have declared that you do not know how the universe came to be. Hence, it would be illogical for you to rule out the possibility that God created it.We don’t “need” those answers? Says who?“Scientific theories such as the Big Bang are intended not as definite answers but as proposed explanations for observed data.”– CARSTONIOSo…at the very least SCIENTISTS disagree with your above declaration that we don’t need to know. “Of course a god could have created the universe.”— CARSTONIOAre you admitting to that being a possibility?“The issue is that any proposed explanation for the origin has to be testable or at least falsifiable, and a god explanation is neither.”– CARSTONIO“A god explanation amounts to simply having an explanation for its own sake, as if having no explanation is to be avoided at all costs.”—CARSTONIOIf the Big Bang is not testable and therefore falsifiable (it is, after all, still only a “proposed explanation,” as you pointed out), how does the “God Theory” differ from the “Big Bang Theory”?“If we don’t or can’t know if an explanation is correct or incorrect, then it’s worse than useless. Why not simply accept that we don’t have any explanation and live with that fact?”– CARSTONIOThat statement and question are both completely antithetical to scientific inquiry. Could you imagine where we would be if, say, Pasteur or Edison had taken that approach? I’m sure they had their nay-sayers who told them you “can’t know.”Peace

  • Carstonio

    “Peter was simply pointing out that you have declared that you do not know how the universe came to be. Hence, it would be illogical for you to rule out the possibility that God created it.”True. My point was that both believers and atheists seem to rule out the possibility that gods exist who did NOT create the universe. “at the very least SCIENTISTS disagree with your above declaration that we don’t need to know. “I would say that they WANT to know, which is not the same thing as having a NEED to know.”Are you admitting to (a god-created universe) being a possibility?”Of course. I don’t see why that should surprise you. It would be intellectually irresponsible of me to dismiss such a possibility. “Then the obvious question would be: Is the Big Bang hypothesis testable and therefore falsifiable?”It may or may not be testable in the practical sense, but it is falsifiable because it allows for the possibility of new data that would prove it false. That is not true of the god-creator hypothesis, which doesn’t involve any data. That doesn’t mean it’s false, it simply means that it’s speculative.”Could you imagine where we would be if, say, Pasteur or Edison had taken that approach? I’m sure they had their nay-sayers who told them you ‘can’t know.’”That’s not an accurate comparison since they weren’t dealing with the proposition that beings exist who are forever beyond human detection. The proposition excludes even the possibility of evidence. I’ve never heard anyone propose the idea of gods who can be detected with the senses.

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,Thanks for the civil dialog. It is appreciated.“True. My point was that both believers and atheists seem to rule out the possibility that gods exist who did NOT create the universe.”—CARSTONIOYeah. Such a “god” wouldn’t be much of a “god,” would it? “I would say that they WANT to know, which is not the same thing as having a NEED to know.”—CARSTONIOBut if we don’t know how the universe came into existence, doesn’t it stand to reason that we could not possibly know whether or not we NEED to know?“Of course. I don’t see why that should surprise you. It would be intellectually irresponsible of me to dismiss such a possibility.”—CARSTONIOThen you would be agnostic, correct? That would definitely distinguish you from most on these threads.I would contend that the Big Bang (and the data indicative of it) itself may well be data relative to the god-creator hypothesis. Something was the first cause of the condensed matter and energy, and something had to “light the fuse,” right? :-)“That’s not an accurate comparison since they weren’t dealing with the proposition that beings exist who are forever beyond human detection. The proposition excludes even the possibility of evidence. I’ve never heard anyone propose the idea of gods who can be detected with the senses.”—CARSTONIOThat presumes that God is forever beyond human detection. To contend that the God hypothesis excludes even the possibility of evidence because He cannot be “detected” by sensory perception seems inconsistent to me.We accept the reality of these things on the basis of the evidences of their effects, not because we can see, touch, taste, hear, or smell them.So with God.Peace.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • gladerunner

    peterhuff:

  • Carstonio

    RCofield, thanks for your praise of my civil tone.Such a “god” wouldn’t be much of a “god,” would it? The ancient Greeks and Norse would disagree. I’m not sure this means that a “god” is whatever a particular religion says it is, or if the definition is loose enought include both Yahweh and Apollo.But if we don’t know how the universe came into existence, doesn’t it stand to reason that we could not possibly know whether or not we NEED to know?I was addressing the claim that one cannot rule out “God” if one has no definite answers otherwise. While I agree with the claim in the technical sense, the claim implies to me that having no answer is unacceptable for some reason.Then you would be agnostic, correct? I wouldn’t use that label for myself, because I had understood agnosticism to mean deeming gods and no gods as equally likely.Something was the first cause of the condensed matter and energy, and something had to “light the fuse,” right? :-)Sure it could have been one or more gods, but that would be purely speculative.To contend that the God hypothesis excludes even the possibility of evidence because He cannot be “detected” by sensory perception seems inconsistent to me.How so? Are there hypotheses about gods that include the possibility of sensory detection? We can’t touch, taste, hear, smell, or see the human mind, the human will, the human intellect, or even human emotions such as love, joy, peace, patience, hatred, sadness, depression, etc. Sure, but those are emotions and concepts, not beings or other object, so that’s not an accurate comparison. We’re talking here about the proposition of one or more beings on a plane of existence that cannot be detected from this one. The things you named are “real” but they likely wouldn’t exist if humans didn’t exist. I see no point to comparing those things to “God” unless you’re suggesting that it’s merely a concept as well.

  • Carstonio

    Rats, I forgot that this thread doesn’t allow BLOCKQUOTE tags. Let me try again…”Such a “god” wouldn’t be much of a “god,” would it? “The ancient Greeks and Norse would disagree. I’m not sure this means that a “god” is whatever a particular religion says it is, or if the definition is loose enought include both Yahweh and Apollo.”But if we don’t know how the universe came into existence, doesn’t it stand to reason that we could not possibly know whether or not we NEED to know?”I was addressing the claim that one cannot rule out “God” if one has no definite answers otherwise. While I agree with the claim in the technical sense, the claim implies to me that having no answer is unacceptable for some reason.”Then you would be agnostic, correct? “I wouldn’t use that label for myself, because I had understood agnosticism to mean deeming gods and no gods as equally likely.”Something was the first cause of the condensed matter and energy, and something had to “light the fuse,” right? :-)”Sure it could have been one or more gods, but that would be purely speculative.”To contend that the God hypothesis excludes even the possibility of evidence because He cannot be “detected” by sensory perception seems inconsistent to me.”How so? Are there hypotheses about gods that include the possibility of sensory detection? “We can’t touch, taste, hear, smell, or see the human mind, the human will, the human intellect, or even human emotions such as love, joy, peace, patience, hatred, sadness, depression, etc. Sure, but those are emotions and concepts, not beings or other object, so that’s not an accurate comparison. We’re talking here about the proposition of one or more beings on a plane of existence that cannot be detected from this one. The things you named are “real” but they likely wouldn’t exist if humans didn’t exist. I see no point to comparing those things to “God” unless you’re suggesting that it’s merely a concept as well.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Carstonio,”How can you rule out God when you have no definite answers to how the universe came to be?” -MeLogic depends on mind. Without mind there would be no such process as reason. You are using it now, so how did it come to be? Logically thinking comes from being, so how does being come to be? Does being ultimately come from nothing? What caused it?”That statement makes the assumption I was criticizing earlier, the idea that a god could and did create the universe.” -CarstonioYou make assumptions that evolutionary science or astrophysics has sufficient answers to the problem of origins, or the problem is of no significance. Your whole world-view could rest on faulty reasoning and basically what I read you as saying is who cares. Yet here we debate.I contend it is a huge and foolish philosophical assumption that you are leaping to in saying it doesn’t matter.”But the larger problem is the apparent assumption that we need definite answers for the origin of the universe. We don’t.” -CarstonioYou pose that we don’t need a definite answer for the origin of the universe, but your very world-view is caught up in the fact that you believe something that you can’t prove. I am making the statement that God is necessary to prove it or anything ultimately. The point is that the correct way of looking at origins, thus science ultimately, depends on whether or not there is a Creator. If there is not then nothing ultimately matters, truth can be whatever you want it to be, you can just make it up and believe whatever you like. If there is a Creator then the issue could be of prime importance, especially if that Creator is the Christian God. “Scientific theories such as the Big Bang are intended not as definite answers but as proposed explanations for observed data.” – CastYes, observed data. We observe the effects of origins, but origins is not a repeatable process in science. The Big Bang is a reasoned conclusion from the evidence. No human being was there to witness it so we interpret the evidence either by 1) a philosophical naturalistic cause, or 2) supernatural cause. The question is which makes more sense, or for that matter which can make any sense out of origins, once the veneer is stripped away. RCofield is having that very debate with Walter on another post and logically God is the only sufficient answer to origins because only by presupposing God can you make sense of origins. It is the argument from cause. You either have a uncaused first cause or an infinite regression of causes, for surely you are not going to argue that something came from nothing? Logically in an infinite regression of causes you would never arrive at the present, so that leaves, by process of elimination, an uncaused first cause. RCofield is doing a great job of showing Walter the utter absurdity of any cause that does not presuppose God as the uncaused cause.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,Ok, I’m burning the midnight oil so I will try to make this brief and then catch up later.”That does not make your object not-exist (false). Just not universally accepted as an immutable, absolute truth.” -GRIn order for there to be such a thing as truth there would have to be a reality – something real – in which that truth is based on. I’ll apply it both to an empirical object and an intangible, non-physical idea/l. Do you agree with that statement? “A specific apple exists or does not. A concept, a belief, an idea, a thought exists beyond that level of verifiability that exists for the apple or your birthday.” – GRIs that concept/statement in itself verifiable then? It seems you are using your sword indiscriminately and hacking of part of your own being. Is your statement true? “If the truth-object is outside our ability to objectively (empirically) measure, then the standards of measure by which we verify the truth of the existence of the apple are not necessarily available to us.” -GRThen how do you know anything outside of empiricism at all as being true? It seems you are cutting off the branch you are sitting on from the wrong side.That would apply to your very reasoning. It is a non tangible and not open to empirical investigation of the five senses in that it can’t be heard, tasted, felt, smelt or seen. Show me reason/logic that I may empirically verify it. “In which case we cannot inherently and confidently use the same precise term to the same level of certainty for both an apple AND a belief.” -GRNo, maybe not from your point of view. I challenge that ultimately it cannot make sense of itself.”It is simply not logical/reasonable to use the same yardstick for a physical object and a metaphysical object. The rules and definitions of one science do not always or necessarily apply to the other. The rules and tools to define and verify a natural object likewise would not be the same used to define and verify a supernatural one.The only yardstick that you seem to have in regards to value judgments is preference. You are arguing that taste determines good or better or best and I am arguing that it can’t because there would be nothing innately good or bad about Hitler’s Germany or Mother Teresa’s Calcutta. You’ve blurred the distinction because if all goodness is is preference then which preference out of the six to seven billion are you going to set as your standard? Your own?To murder or not would just be a preference enforced by those in control, just as tyranny. But as long as you can get by under the radar then murder or not ultimately doesn’t matter. But don’t call your values good. You can’t show me a standard that is anything other than fluctuating and at the will of those in control. Why is what you say true? Because you ‘feel it?’ Because you ‘like it’ your way?No, because you are made in the image and likeness of God and know His standard.

  • RCofield

    Hi GLADERUNNER,Hope you had a good weekend.Am interested to get your response to my three-part post beginning @ January 7, 2011 5:40 PM.

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,Part 2 of 2“Sure, but those are emotions and concepts, not beings or other object, so that’s not an accurate comparison. We’re talking here about the proposition of one or more beings on a plane of existence that cannot be detected from this one.”–CARSTONIOThe christian “God Hypothesis” does indeed claim that God exists in the physical plane through non-physical attributes and that He can be detected by “effect evidence.” That renders my comparison a valid one.“The things you named are “real” but they likely wouldn’t exist if humans didn’t exist. I see no point to comparing those things to “God” unless you’re suggesting that it’s merely a concept as well.”–CARSTONIOSetting aside the obvious exceptions of, say, gravity and wind, your statement presupposes that mind/intelligence can exist without an intelligent first-cause. That is a logically untenable position.Peace, brother.

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,Part 1 of 2Thanks again for the dialog.“The ancient Greeks and Norse would disagree. I’m not sure this means that a “god” is whatever a particular religion says it is, or if the definition is loose enought include both Yahweh and Apollo.”–CARSTONIOPhilosophically, the Christian God is defined as Ultimate Being, that is, Self-Existent/Necessary being—depending on nothing outside Himself for His existence and being “necessary” as a first-cause explanatory principle. By definition such a God would be without rival or competitor.“I was addressing the claim that one cannot rule out “God” if one has no definite answers otherwise. While I agree with the claim in the technical sense, the claim implies to me that having no answer is unacceptable for some reason.”–CARSTONIOHaving “no answer” has never been a permanently acceptable position scientifically, so why should it be an acceptable position philosophically?“I wouldn’t use that label (agnostic) for myself, because I had understood agnosticism to mean deeming gods and no gods as equally likely.”–CARSTONIO“Agnostic” is from the Greek “gnosis,” meaning knowledge. To be “agnostic” on the issue of the existence of God is to claim “no knowledge,” or to claim that though there may be a God or gods we simply CAN’T know. The position of pure atheism is that of asserting that there certainly is NO God. You don’t seem to fall into the latter category. Am I reading you wrongly?“Sure it could have been one or more gods, but that would be purely speculative.”–CARSTONIOBut no more speculative than presuming a natural but unknown cause. Unless, of course, one is completely committed to philosophical naturalism, which would engender an entirely fresh set of problems. :-)ME: “To contend that the God hypothesis excludes even the possibility of evidence because He cannot be “detected” by sensory perception seems inconsistent to me.”YOU: “How so? Are there hypotheses about gods that include the possibility of sensory detection?”–CARSTONIOIt seems inconsistent to me in that most people accept (on the grounds of “effect evidence”) non-physical things that cannot be directly observed by empirical data/sensory perception (ie. Gravity, wind, mind, will intellect, etc.).

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:Not merely ‘tastes’. That minimizes significantly what is really going on. What actually determines a society’s morality is common agreement. No one person’s tastes are the determining factor (except in a complete monarchy). Much like my analogy of the newlyweds, a couple, tribe, civilization develops rules of conduct for itself. Some, the big ones, are made into laws, for which there is stated punishment for the violation, and a system of ‘justice’ that society uses to enforce and adjudicate these laws. In olden times, there was typically a tribal leader, king or chieftain, a central authority that made the laws and meted out judgment. As civilization grew and progressed, forms of representative governance and self rule evolved. Even today this is not complete, we still have dictatorships and non-elected governance in some places.“You’ve blurred the distinction because if all goodness is is preference then which preference out of the six to seven billion are you going to set as your standard”“In order for there to be such a thing as truth there would have to be a reality – something real – in which that truth is based on.”

  • Carstonio

    Part 2…”you believe something that you can’t prove”And what do you assert that I believe? My larger point is about rejecting the concept of belief – an assertion is either true or false.”I am making the statement that God is necessary to prove it or anything ultimately. “No, that’s an assumption, the same one that ultimately drives intelligent design. “If there is not then nothing ultimately matters, truth can be whatever you want it to be, you can just make it up and believe whatever you like.”Not only is that an assumption, it embodies the falsehood of absolutism. Just because one craves meaning is no reason to assume that gods exist. That ignores the possibility that gods exist but meaning doesn’t. It also ignores the possibility that meaning could be created by humans instead. The idea that human-created meaning is ultimately no meaning at all is an absolutist one.”we interpret the evidence either by 1) a philosophical naturalistic cause, or 2) supernatural cause.”That’s another false dichotomy. The concept of “supernatural” is not valid because it rests on the assumption of a natural/supernatural divide, where things such as gods or miracles amount to suspensions or violations of physical laws. It ignores the possilibility that gods may be part of the universe instead of on the other side of a divide.”logically God is the only sufficient answer to origins because only by presupposing God can you make sense of origins.”But the question of whether something exists or doesn’t exist is an empirical matter and not a logical one. That’s like claiming that one can prove the existence of black holes or other planets through logic. One can treat the concept of a first cause as a proposed hypothesis, but it remains speculation unless one can test it or falsify it. “You either have a uncaused first cause or an infinite regression of causes, for surely you are not going to argue that something came from nothing?”That’s more absolutism. Specificially, the idea that the only alternative to a first cause is “something from nothing.” It’s possible that there was a nothing, but again that remains speculation.I must emphasize that my points apply equally to the assertion that gods don’t exist. Metaphorically I’m standing here with my arms folded, asking for more proof than simply speculation or logical argument. Otherwise there’s no reason to take a position either way.

  • Carstonio

    “Logically thinking comes from being, so how does being come to be? Does being ultimately come from nothing?”We don’t have the answer to the former question. The latter question assumes that there was a nothing, and we shouldn’t make that assumption.”You make assumptions that evolutionary science or astrophysics has sufficient answers to the problem of origins”Incorrect. Just because I criticize one assumption doesn’t mean I make an opposite assumption.”basically what I read you as saying is who cares. Yet here we debate.”I care about knowledge, and I care when people make speculations and mislabel them as knowledge. I emphasize that saying that god postulations amount to speculations does not amount to labeling the postulations as false. It means that we have no way of knowing whether the postulations are correct or incorrect.”I contend it is a huge and foolish philosophical assumption that you are leaping to in saying it doesn’t matter.”That’s not quite my position. I’m saying that postulations that gods exist or that they don’t exist are based in emotion, where people wish they exist or wish they don’t. The correct answer to a question has nothing to do with one’s emotional investment in the answer.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“Do you recall the primary reason the souls on the Mayflower, Hollander, and Huguenot left their respective societies? ““Were the slaves of by-gone years human? It is indisputable that they were human“by your own argument, established that there is at least one fixed moral standard.”“So, if I can demonstrate to you non-physical things of which you can feel/sense their effects, you logically should have no problem with at least considering them objectively, right?”

  • Carstonio

    “Having ‘no answer’ has never been a permanently acceptable position scientifically, so why should it be an acceptable position philosophically?”How so? Can you provide an example of the former? I’ve never heard any scientist advocating for making conclusions about causes simply to have a conclusion. If someone says he is thinking of a number and refuses to tell me what the number is, I have no way of finding out what that number is, so I shouldn’t form any conclusions about that number. The principle here is to refrain from claiming to know things that one doesn’t know.”But no more speculative than presuming a natural but unknown cause.”We shouldn’t assume a natural/supernatural divide. It may be possible that gods may be as “natural” as anything else in the universe and not on a separate plane. A cause is a cause is a cause.”non-physical things that cannot be directly observed by empirical data/sensory perception (ie. Gravity, wind, mind, will intellect, etc.). “Wind is certainly physical. Gravity has many unknowns about it but we can observe its effect. That’s in part how black holes were discovered. I wasn’t arguing that gods should be directly or indirectly observable, but instead suggesting that the god hypothesis is invalid because it doesn’t allow for observations that would prove it false. It’s so broad as to cover any possible observations, which really means that it doesn’t explain any observations.”He can be detected by ‘effect evidence.’”Can you offer examples? I’ve had others offer examples that turned out to be assumptions, such as the one that drives intelligent design (the assumption that order can only be designed).”your statement presupposes that mind/intelligence can exist without an intelligent first-cause. That is a logically untenable position.”I misspoke earlier. To clarify my statement, it may be possible for things like emotions to exist if minds didn’t exist, but we don’t know how it’s possible, so we shouldn’t assume that minds can only be created by other minds. Again, that’s the same problem with creationism and intelligent design.

  • Freestinker

    Quarters placed under pillows by parents are “universally accepted observable evidences” for the existence of the tooth fairy? =========RC,Universally accepted by believers. Yes, absolutely! That’s exactly the point.Now give us an example of some universally accepted observable evidence for the existence of your god…. cue the sound of crickets chirping …

  • Freestinker

    RCOFIELD wrote: “We can’t touch, taste, hear, smell, or see the human mind, the human will, the human intellect, or even human emotions such as love, joy, peace, patience, hatred, sadness, depression, etc.” CARSTONION replied:=========Exactly! When pressed for hard evidence to support their supernatural claims, invariably believers offer analogies of other human emotions and concepts, ironically admitting that their gods are likewise nothing more than just another human idea. Just like love and joy, the god emotion is absolutely real but real only in the sense that any other human emotion is real.

  • Carstonio

    Freestinker, you don’t get off the hook that easily. Just as I question the claim “Gods exist as a matter of irrefutable fact,” I also question the claim “Gods don’t exist as a matter of irrefutable fact.” Granted, the former claim has a far greater burden of proof because of the extraordinary nature of the claim. But any atheists who reject even the possibility of things existing beyond human detection must still justify that rejection. Also, what you mean by a “god emotion”? There are a few deists whose beliefs in gods have nothing to do with what other believers call “religious experiences.”

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 3 of 3Here is my proposal to make your conversation more manageable. Why don’t you choose a particular element of what I have said thus far that you would like to explore further? I could do the same. This would help us be a little more focused and enable us to start fresh without having to respond to a half-dozen or so individual points in every post. Of course this too will eventually “evolve” to the point it becomes unmanageable, but we could do another “reset” then as well. What are your thoughts on this?If you agree, the particular point that I would like to discuss further with you would be the following exchange:ME: “Were the slaves of by-gone years human? It is indisputable that they were human.”YOU: “Sure, now. This goes to my earlier point that terms and concepts are subject to change over time. In centuries past slaves were NOT considered fully-qualified human by those that made the rules. There have probably been people that disagreed with that assessment as long as slavery existed ( I would imagine the slaves themselves) however the commonly accepted social norm (even biblically) for many centuries was that slaves were valued as something less than equal-human compared to the slaveholders. The nature of the individual slave was not different, it was the socially accepted, commonly agreed upon values of those times and places that were. Morality, the common value system has evolved.”ME: “We have, by your own argument, established that there is at least one fixed moral standard.”YOU: “No we haven’t.”Peace, brother.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 3 He. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Notice the terms “assurance” and “conviction.” All the evidence available to you gives you assurance that your wife loves you. Likewise, all the evidence available to you enables you to have a level of “conviction” that your wife loves you. And this “hope” and “conviction” exist despite the fact that her love (a non-physical thing) for you is a “thing hoped for” AND a “thing not seen.” You can call that belief or you can call it faith (in the biblical sense). I’ll not insist on the latter in our discussion if it makes you uncomfortable. “There is also a difference, even in secular usage between ‘faith’ and ‘blind faith’. The former meaning a belief in something without logical/physical proof, the latter, a belief in something in spite of any and all contradictory information.”–GRIndeed, it is nothing short of magical to see secularists “define” something that they THINK is alien to their world-view. As for “faith,” I gave the biblical definition above. As far as “blind faith” is concerned, either of the secular definitions you give above work equally well. The two are hardly distinguishable. “Also, if what I have described about my wife’s love for me, you asked earlier if I’d considered the possibility that even though I sensed/felt love, that she might indeed be lying to me or manipulating me. I conceded that this was indeed possible. Could the same be said about a religious person’s faith? Is it possible that their feelings or interpretations of the sensation they call god’s love might also be merely the result of lies or manipulation?”–GRIt is certainly possible, if a religious persons “faith” is based on nothing more than “feelings” or “sensations.” You have already demonstrated that you base your belief that your wife loves you on far more than mere feelings or sensations. Any person who bases their religious beliefs on mere feelings or sensations lacks intellectual integrity at the most basic level and could indeed be described as one who believes on the basis of nothing more than “blind faith”….or “blind belief” (whichever you prefer). The point being, “religious” folk don’t have the market cornered when it comes to such. “I did, she laughed. I’m pretty sure that she loves me. (but not 100%, absolutely, positively, undeniably sure.) ;-)”–GRBravo! The evidence DOES indeed seem to indicate that she loves you. :-) We are both blessed men.

  • RCofield

    STINKY,”Exactly! When pressed for hard evidence to support their supernatural claims, invariably believers offer analogies of other human emotions and concepts, ironically admitting that their gods are likewise nothing more than just another human idea. Just like love and joy, the god emotion is absolutely real but real only in the sense that any other human emotion is real.”–STINKY”Universally accepted by believers. Yes, absolutely! That’s exactly the point. Now give us an example of some universally accepted observable evidence for the existence of your god…. cue the sound of crickets chirping …”–STINKYOk, sport. Why don’t you dazzle us all by positing your hypothesis for the first-cause of the universe. (With requisite observable evidences, of course.)

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,Thanks for the reply.ME: “Having ‘no answer’ has never been a permanently acceptable position scientifically, so why should it be an acceptable position philosophically?”YOU: “How so? Can you provide an example of the former? I’ve never heard any scientist advocating for making conclusions about causes simply to have a conclusion.”The entire field of scientific inquiry necessarily requires the forming of a possible conclusion and then testing the veracity of said conclusion. Can you imagine where we would be if scientists didn’t pose possible answers and then test them for veracity? “The principle here is to refrain from claiming to know things that one doesn’t know.”–CARSTONIOAgreed.“We shouldn’t assume a natural/supernatural divide. It may be possible that gods may be as “natural” as anything else in the universe and not on a separate plane. A cause is a cause is a cause.”–CARSTONIOInteresting statement. More consistent with the biblical Christian world-view than you may be comfortable with. :-) I may have been guilty of assuming that you presumed an exclusively natural first-cause of the universe. It’s been know to happen.“Wind is certainly physical.”–CARSTONIOHow so?“Gravity has many unknowns about it but we can observe its effect. That’s in part how black holes were discovered.”–CARSTONIO My point was that God, just as gravity, wind, etc., can be known by the observance of His effects. “I wasn’t arguing that gods should be directly or indirectly observable, but instead suggesting that the god hypothesis is invalid because it doesn’t allow for observations that would prove it false. It’s so broad as to cover any possible observations, which really means that it doesn’t explain any observations.”–CARSTONIOAny explanatory, ultimately-causative agency would, by definition, be rather broad, whether one views it as natural or supernatural (or some combination of the two). This in no way makes the “God-hypothesis” unfalsifiable. It just makes it quite difficult to falsify.“Can you offer examples? I’ve had others offer examples that turned out to be assumptions, such as the one that drives intelligent design (the assumption that order can only be designed).”–CARSTONIOI think I can, otherwise I would not be a Christian.“I misspoke earlier. To clarify my statement, it may be possible for things like emotions to exist if minds didn’t exist, but we don’t know how it’s possible, so we shouldn’t assume that minds can only be created by other minds. Again, that’s the same problem with creationism and intelligent design.”–CARSTONIOExcluding the presupposition-laden example of evolution theory, are you aware of any instance where order and complexity are evident absent a mind?Your turn.Peace, brother.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:As with slavery the value certain societies have assigned to certain objects and behaviors is fluid. That slaves were once seen as less-than-fully-qualified humans says nothing much at all about the slaves themselves, and everything about the attitudes of the societies in which the slaves were subjugated. As is the case with alcohol in the U.S. For hundreds of years alcohol was made, sold and consumed in the U.S. Then the temperance movement happened, an active campaign to ban the substance. Enough popular support was aroused to call for the banning, constitutionally, of the manufacture and sale. Liquor was still liquor, the effects of alcohol were no different, it was simply that the society that judged it deemed it bad enough to be banned. Then a few years later this mood shifted again. The ban was lifted, the kegs flowed freely. Once again nothing about the alcohol itself changed, only the public attitude and policy (moral value). If there is a ‘fixed moral standard’ I am unaware of it. I am aware of many, many attempts to establish one for all humanity, but not of the universality, the global acceptance, of any. I hope this better clarifies my thinking.

  • drdankan1

    I have an answer to the post that Thomas Baum states:I have said many times on here that I have no “proof” and I have also stated that it will be God, not me, Who will supply the “proof” and God will supply this “proof” in due time, God’s Time”There is a group of people who have the answer about “God’s Time”. It is May 21, 2011. That is as logical and believable as all of the dialogue about the existence or non existence of “God”. All of those wasted words between Athiests and Christians comes down to the definite answer. Those who believe in “god” will be saved on May 21st. Those who don’t believe will be around on May 22nd and there will be no more dialogue about who was right! Or, if the May 21st people are right, there will be no one around to have a discussion. And all of those words about who was or is right were just wasted. Oh well? There is still time for more exchanges. Go for it would be philosophers!

  • Carstonio

    “The entire field of scientific inquiry necessarily requires the forming of a possible conclusion and then testing the veracity of said conclusion.”I’m talking about instances where no conclusion is testable or falsifiable, and I’m criticizing the idea that one should simply concoct a conclusion in such cases. Which leads to my next point…”My point was that God, just as gravity, wind, etc., can be known by the observance of His effects. “Would you provide examples? Most often the god explanations for events are merely arguments from incredulity – “We don’t know what caused X, so it must have been a being with the power to cause anything.” That doesn’t answer the question of what caused X, but instead replaces one unanswered question for another. Part of intellectual responsibility is avoiding “must have” thinking and the automatic exclusion of possibilities, and that doesn’t mean that all possibilities are of equal likelihood either.”Any explanatory, ultimately-causative agency would, by definition, be rather broad, whether one views it as natural or supernatural (or some combination of the two). This in no way makes the ‘God-hypothesis’ unfalsifiable. It just makes it quite difficult to falsify.”It’s unfalsifiable because it’s compatible with all possible observations. By attempting to explaining everything, it ultimately explains nothing. And I mean not just the First Cause idea but also the idea that such a being causes everything to happen.”are you aware of any instance where order and complexity are evident absent a mind?”I’m not making that assumption but simply questioning the opposite assumption.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Thanks for the concession and the time spent clarifying your position on the issue of morality.Before responding in depth I would like to pose a quick question and get your feedback.On what ground/basis would slaves in contemporary society be “qualified for our sympathies/moral indignation at their treatment”?And could you give me a general idea of what you mean when you use the term “moral indignation”?Thanks.

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,I remain appreciative of the civil exchanges.“I’m talking about instances where no conclusion is testable or falsifiable, and I’m criticizing the idea that one should simply concoct a conclusion in such cases. Which leads to my next point…”—CARSTONIOI am in no way advocating the “concocting” of conclusions. That is self-evidently self-defeating.However, the “God-hypothesis” is testable by the means a combination of logic, reason, and observable effects. Further, it is falsifiable by proving that all things attributed to God are, in fact, attributable to a cause or causes other than God. You seem to be insisting that “difficult to falsify” = “not falsifiable.” Those are simply not equal statements. I know that is a tall order on the “falsifiable” side, but keep in mind that either conclusion (God or no God) does not require perfect resolution of every question but only that degree of verification that meets the requirements of probability and reason—which is true with any hypothesis, be it scientific or philosophical. “Would you provide examples? Most often the god explanations for events are merely arguments from incredulity – “We don’t know what caused X, so it must have been a being with the power to cause anything.” “—CARSTONIOI agree that arguments from incredulity prove nothing. To begin by immediately offering examples of observable effects of the existence of God would be to run the risk of being accused of “arguments from incredulity” when that is simply not the case. Rather, may I propose that you allow me to start from a fixed point, work from that point using reason and logic to argue toward the existence of God, and then argue from the point of God back to the observable evidences? If you are agreeable to that let me know.YOU SAID: “I misspoke earlier. To clarify my statement, it may be possible for things like emotions to exist if minds didn’t exist, but we don’t know how it’s possible, so we shouldn’t assume that minds can only be created by other minds. Again, that’s the same problem with creationism and intelligent design.”I ASKED: “Excluding the presupposition-laden example of evolution theory, are you aware of any instance where order and complexity are evident absent a mind?”YOU RESPONDED: “I’m not making that assumption but simply questioning the opposite assumption.”What assumption are you referring to? You clearly stated that “we shouldn’t assume that minds can only be created by other minds.” My question does not call for any assumptions. I am merely questioning you as to what observable evidences you would offer as a basis for your statement. One loose end here that I am curious about:YOU: “Wind is certainly physical.”ME: How so?Peace, brother.

  • peterhuff

    PART 3“You are arguing that taste determines good or better or best and I am arguing that it can’t because there would be nothing innately good or bad about Hitler’s Germany or Mother Teresa’s Calcutta” – MeGladerunner, my thoughts are in [brackets].”Not merely ‘tastes’. That minimizes significantly what is really going on. What actually determines a society’s morality is common agreement. [Based on tastes. Well in your world-view some subjective person somewhere had to originate the thought as to what goodness was and convince others that such a ‘notion’ was in fact mutually beneficial based on his/her feelings, yet so many wars are fought over such feelings.] No one person’s tastes are the determining factor (except in a complete monarchy). [In my world-view I can agree with that statement because mankind is made in the image and likeness of God, and have that moral compass/consciousness in which many suppress that truth of God, the ultimate Monarch, but in a natural philosophical world-view, which would be one that is believed by those who deny/suppress the truth of God, a mindless, irrational, unintentional, chance process is ultimately responsible for morality – go figure.] Much like my analogy of the newlyweds, a couple, tribe, civilization develops rules of conduct for itself. [Yes and those rules of conduct are based on the ideas that originate from subjective minds and is subject to change.] Some, the big ones, are made into laws, for which there is stated punishment for the violation, and a system of ‘justice’ that society uses to enforce and adjudicate these laws. [Justice implies doing what is right. Your ‘right’ is subject to change depending on which culture you live in. In one right is right and in another it is wrong. Go figure – right is wrong???] In olden times, there was typically a tribal leader, king or chieftain, a central authority that made the laws and meted out judgment. As civilization grew and progressed, forms of representative governance and self rule evolved. Even today this is not complete, we still have dictatorships and non-elected governance in some places. [It’s a lot more common than that]

  • peterhuff

    PART 2“You’ve blurred the distinction because if all goodness is is preference then which preference out of the six to seven billion are you going to set as your standard” – Me“Once again you understate reality. Just look around the world. There are indeed varying sets of social values. This does not necessarily lead to chaos, but it certainly can cause inter-tribal/cultural/national strife and.No, I don’t think I understated reality concerning ethics in relation to goodness. I understand that there are many different views of what goodness is in your world-view. Postmodernity/relativism/subjectivism is having its way.So I think we should establish if you believe in the laws of non-contradiction, for that is what both logic and communication is based on.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,“In order for there to be such a thing as truth there would have to be a reality – something real – in which that truth is based on.” – Me“This concept of ‘truth’ as a fixed object, an absolute, immutable, universal stake in the ground is foreign to me. Well this brings up other issues in the field of epistemology, on how you know what you know. I’m not as efficient in thought as RCofield who sets up an argument really well, and knows how to progress and follow it through to a certain conclusion, so I’ll save this for later. We’ll just see how each of us makes sense of things.Is truth not absolute, fixed? How can it change from being true to being false? Common acceptable knowledge is not always true. Does not science work on testing hypothesis for truth in which commonly held positions are constantly changing as our knowledge increases, and supposed truths are proven false. Just because something is believed true does not necessarily mean that it is. But to know as certain absolute, immutable, universal truth logically it would have to come from an omniscient, eternal Being, a Being who knows all things, and He would have to have revealed it to His creatures, or they would have to think His thoughts after Him. This in part is the claim that the Bible makes among other things, such as “in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:2b-3)You will never know God personally outside of Christ, just things about Him. To have that relational interaction with God is possible only through Christ because to come into His holy presence requires that intercessory and mediated work of Christ Jesus.

  • peterhuff

    PART 3″you believe something that you can’t prove” – Me“And what do you assert that I believe? My larger point is about rejecting the concept of belief – an assertion is either true or false.” – CarstonioRejecting the concept of belief is a belief in itself. You believe that God is based on emotions and that there is no evidences for Him for starters. As for concept of belief, if you are capable of rational thoughts then you have a belief, and you are since you are quite capable of communicating with me. The question is what that belief is centered on and what are its core tenets?”I am making the statement that God is necessary to prove it or anything ultimately.” – Me“No, that’s an assumption, the same one that ultimately drives intelligent design.” – CarstonioAt the moment it is a statement based on evidence that I have not offered you yet, so to you it is an assertion. Are you denying that intelligent design is a feasible philosophical explanation – you an intelligent being who is designing your own argument in reply to mine? “If there is not then nothing ultimately matters, truth can be whatever you want it to be, you can just make it up and believe whatever you like.” – Me“Not only is that an assumption, it embodies the falsehood of absolutism.” – Carstonio The falsehood of absolutism? Are you absolutely sure of that? You can’t deny the absolute without stating it. If you are not absolutely sure then how can you know that absolutism is false? If you are absolutely sure then you have just stated an absolute and your argument is self-refuting. It self-destructs.

  • peterhuff

    PART 3″you believe something that you can’t prove” – Me“And what do you assert that I believe? My larger point is about rejecting the concept of belief – an assertion is either true or false.” – CarstonioRejecting the concept of belief is a belief in itself. You believe that God is based on emotions and that there is no evidences for Him for starters. As for concept of belief, if you are capable of rational thoughts then you have a belief, and you are since you are quite capable of communicating with me. The question is what that belief is centered on and what are its core tenets?”I am making the statement that God is necessary to prove it or anything ultimately.” – Me“No, that’s an assumption, the same one that ultimately drives intelligent design.” – CarstonioAt the moment it is a statement based on evidence that I have not offered you yet, so to you it is an assertion. Are you denying that intelligent design is a feasible philosophical explanation – you an intelligent being who is designing your own argument in reply to mine? “If there is not then nothing ultimately matters, truth can be whatever you want it to be, you can just make it up and believe whatever you like.” – Me“Not only is that an assumption, it embodies the falsehood of absolutism.” – Carstonio The falsehood of absolutism? Are you absolutely sure of that? You can’t deny the absolute without stating it. If you are not absolutely sure then how can you know that absolutism is false? If you are absolutely sure then you have just stated an absolute and your argument is self-refuting. It self-destructs.

  • peterhuff

    PART 2″basically what I read you as saying is who cares. Yet here we debate.” – Me“I care about knowledge, and I care when people make speculations and mislabel them as knowledge. I emphasize that saying that god postulations amount to speculations does not amount to labeling the postulations as false. It means that we have no way of knowing whether the postulations are correct or incorrect.” – CarstonioYou believe I’m speculating, but how do you know since you don’t know God and you have admitted you have no way of knowing? If you believe you have no way of knowing then you have defeated the idea of God before even beginning. The world and everything in it is created and belongs to God. Therefore there is the natural realm that shows His existence as well as His self-disclosure in the form of the Bible. Both these evidences point to Him and we can investigate those claims further if you are up to it.”I contend it is a huge and foolish philosophical assumption that you are leaping to in saying it doesn’t matter.” – Me“That’s not quite my position. I’m saying that postulations that gods exist or that they don’t exist are based in emotion, where people wish they exist or wish they don’t. The correct answer to a question has nothing to do with one’s emotional investment in the answer.” – CarstonioI’m not talking about gods, just God.That is your assumption that the existence of God is based on emotion and nothing but. That is similar to the Freudian concept of the native alone on the volcanic island in which the volcano starts to rumble, so he invents a sky hook – a god – to appease his fears.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Carstonio,“We don’t have the answer to the former question. The latter question assumes that there was a nothing, and we shouldn’t make that assumption.” – CarstonioIf you don’t have the answer then how sure are you that it is not God that being comes from? You witness beings coming from beings. Where do you see beings coming from non-beings“Incorrect. Just because I criticize one assumption doesn’t mean I make an opposite assumption.” – CarstonioWell what are you doing then? Either you believe that life and the universe arose from blind indifferent chance factors or you believe that an ultimate supernatural Being, hence outside of the natural realm, created the universe and life, or you have no opinion which appears not to be the case since your come at this from a definite presuppositional stance, or everything is just illusion? Which do you believe it is?

  • Carstonio

    PeterHuff,Rather than answer every one of your points in detail, which would take several posts, I will attempt to answer more generally…I use absolutism to mean arguing or thinking in either-or terms. This ignores possibilities that don’t fit into that binary framework. And as usually practiced, it describes the disfavored choice in illogical or caricatured terms, to create a straw man for the favored choice. That’s what I see in the argument that only alternative to a creator god is “something from nothing.” The latter goes against the principles of thermodynamics, and is really a misapplication of a theological concept. And that’s also what I see in the claim that nothing makes sense without such a god. That doesn’t explain how the god came into being. The postulation implies that the god itself must have come from nothing.My general point about possibilities is that we don’t have the information to flatly rule out the possibility of anything. When I state a possibility, I’m offering it as something to be considerered, not something that’s definite or even likely. The burden is on any claim that a possibility should be ruled out. You state that “By definition God is the greatest Being there is or else He would not be God.” But different religions and different believers define their gods in different ways, and it doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about a single god or many gods. No one person or religion has a monopoly on what defines a god. If one is going to assert a single god, then at a minimum one must show why the assertions of multiple gods are wrong. The point of my first post in this thread is that when believers and atheists argue “god or no god,” both are working from the same set of assumptions.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“On what ground/basis would slaves in contemporary society be “qualified for our sympathies/moral indignation at their treatment”?”“And could you give me a general idea of what you mean when you use the term “moral indignation”?”

  • RCofield

    Hey GLADERUNNER,”So far you’ve left open about five things that you were going to get back to me on. Still waiting.”–GRI’m sorry. What did I miss? (I may have too many “conversations” going on in these threads….. :-) )

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“Is truth not absolute, fixed?”“Just because something is believed true does not necessarily mean that it is.”“But to know as certain absolute, immutable, universal truth logically it would have to come from. . . ”“To believe that two distinct social conventions can both have a different idea of goodness that is contrary to the other and that both of these can be right or relatively true goes against the laws of non-contradiction that state that A cannot be both A and non-A”You are trying to apply physical laws (mathematical logic) to metaphysical notions. Which is like trying to use a monkey wrench to adjust a cloud. Wrong tool. Scholastic philosophy is full of examples like this. You are saying that broccoli cannot both taste good and bad. A value; taste or ‘goodness’ is relative. It varies with perspective, culture, time and place.

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“Hitler did was no better or worse than what Mother Teresa”

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,Did you see my response to you @ January 11, 2011 2:04 AM?

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Did you see my question to you @ January 11, 2011 10:49 AM?

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,“So we are back to the premise that judging another cultures values of good would be immoral since each culture has the ‘right’ to determine that good for themselves” – Me”No, not at all. You are applying the label ‘immoral’ to judgment of others’ cultures, I did not. We tend to judge other cultures based on our own standards. Other cultures may see things differently.” – GladerunnerJustice implies rightfully executing judgment. If their rightness is different from yours then what gives you the right to condemn them or judge their standard as wrong? It is right for them. Nothing unless there is a universal code of ethics in which something is universally right or wrong. Your standards are no better or no worse than any other cultural standard unless there is such a measure that is universal. All you have is just a preference between peoples. And even among your people groups there is great division.Your relative standard is ‘good’ because you believe it to be ‘good.’ Why ‘should’ what you believe be of any significance to me or the standard for others? In a relative world we all make our own standards or bend to those that are forced on us by others. There is nothing to base goodness on other than our particular preferences.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,I went through your arguments and came up with about six pages of responses. I don’t want to bombard you. I did find faulty reasoning in your arguments on numerous occasions. I’ll supply a few for now and them bring in others later.“How can it change from being true to being false?” – ME“I think you are again assigning empirical values to non-empirical concepts. A subjective thing, a belief, can easily be ‘true’ to one person and ‘false’ to another.” –GRBtw, how do you get empirical VALUES? Is that not an oxymoron? Empirical implies what can be seen and tested physically; values implies non-physical concepts. No it can’t be true to one person and not to another. Truth is what conforms to what is real/objective, so what does not conform to what is real is not true. It is a falsehood.Taste is not a value. Taste is a sense/sensation/ experience. Good is a value. Truth is a value. Justice is a value. Is your last statement (above) relatively true or absolutely true? How can truth be relative? It either describes what is real or it does not. In a chance universe, one that denies God and is believed to have come about by unintentional natural happenstance, how does physical unthinking matter arrive at a state where it has being, mind, and intention, that it can meditate on goodness and truth? I mean how absurd a world-view that has zero explanatory capability without borrowing from the Christian framework, and yet denies its Creator. In the universe that God created truth is what conforms and confirms to what is real, what He made. In your universe truth is what you believe and can change depending on the person. Reality is what the person makes it, for it changes and is relative to the individual or culture. At least that is what I get you as saying. Good to you is in the eye of the beholder or culture. So how can something that is not fixed on an objective reality be good, be true? It becomes a choice based on personal tastes and preferences. Truth or goodness becomes what you prefer as it did with what Hitler preferred and as such you find a way to justify it to yourself.Btw, in another example you cite Santa as a belief that you once thought was true and you give your reasons, but do you really think that Santa and Jesus are comparable where the evidence and reasoning is concerned?

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“Btw, how do you get empirical VALUES”“Good is a value. Truth is a value. Justice is a value.”“Is your last statement (above) relatively true or absolutely true? How can truth be relative? It either describes what is real or it does not.”“Good to you is in the eye of the beholder or culture. So how can something that is not fixed on an objective reality be good, be true? It becomes a choice based on personal tastes and preferences. Truth or goodness becomes what you prefer as it did with what Hitler preferred and as such you find a way to justify it to yourself.”“do you really think that Santa and Jesus are comparable where the evidence and reasoning is concerned?”(Cntd.)

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,Did you see my response to you @ January 11, 2011 2:04 AM?

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Did you see my question to you @ January 11, 2011 10:49 AM?

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“Yes, I do as a necessity for there to be anything as certain or true.”“That statement by Jesus must be either true or false. It can’t be both true and false”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,”Yes I did… I think you are just avoiding me. I’ve posted tons of replies to your comments, you can drill down to them as easily as I can. I’m feeling a bit diss’d.I went back over our dialog yesterday when you first posted your concern and the only thing that I found that I have not responded to directly was your last offering on the slavery/morality issue.Other than that, I think I have responded (at least cursorily) to everything you have posted thus far. If I have overlooked something it was certainly not intentional. If you will, help me out. What am I missing?It has certainly not been my intention to dismiss you. I have found our dialog to be stimulating thus far. Peace, brother.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“If you can propose how we subjective human beings can know certainty without presupposing God or thinking His thoughts after Him I’m listening. Logically show me otherwise”“And your reasoning and logic, which requires not knowing or disbelieving that God exists presupposes a conclusion too,”“that there is no evidence for His existence”“and that you as a man are the measure of all things, things that you have no answer for.”“You have built yours on basic core beliefs, one being that there is no evidence for God”

  • peterhuff

    PART 3The bible does not prove the bible. Jesus does not prove Jesus.” –GRBut the contents are evidence/proof that its words are trustworthy/reliable. Prophecy is evidence its words are trustworthy/reliable. The unity is evidence/proof that its words are trustworthy/reliable. Claims to eyewitness accounts are not something that can be easily dismissed unless you can provide a more logical explanation. The purported NEED (actually, desire) for absolute truth/good/justice is not evidence of its actual existence. He/you may be trying to tell me that the evidence for God’s existence is ridiculous, but we have barely touched that evidence as of yet. We are still working on why his measure is the grounds for basing anything concrete on. His statements are mere assertions, just like you claim mine are, because neither one of us has put our evidence on the table and examined it yet. I am still trying to establish how he can know what he states with any degree of certainty, given a world-view that works outside the scope of God’s existence, therefore is must work on philosophical naturalistic grounds. There are only three or four ways of looking at origins,There is still a long way to go in opening this reasoning up.Saying something does not necessarily make it so. That is true for both of us.

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“That is where logic and reason comes into play. You would have to show me your evidence that His words are indeed works of fiction, or at least that it is more plausible to believe this.”“Can you prove the Holy Spirit does not exist?” “Also the statement “I am the truth” is at best a claim, not at all an un-denied fact.” – GR

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“But the contents are evidence/proof that its words are trustworthy/reliable”“Claims to eyewitness accounts are not something that can be easily dismissed”“There are only three or four ways of looking at origins,You forgot a very important one: “We don’t know for sure.”

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 2I think you are missing a vital point here. On the issue of slavery, it is not “public opinion” or shifts in “social norms” that actually makes the abuses of slavery morally “wrong.” You said yourself that there has probably been opposition to slavery for as long as there has been slavery, hence slavery has been viewed as morally wrong (at least by some, if not most) in every known era of human history. While shifts in public opinion certainly determine the ACCEPTABILITY or UNACCEPTABILITY of things such as slavery within a given culture, said public opinion is not the GROUNDS or BASIS on which slavery “becomes” morally “wrong.” I will offer your own argument as support of the above. You contended that slavery became “of moral consequence” “WHEN SOCIETIES ACCEPTED THE NOTION OF THE HUMAN-NESS OF SLAVES.” Notice that your use of the term “accepted” presupposes (rightly) that slaves have always been human. If they have always been human, shouldn’t it have always been morally “wrong” to treat them as sub-human? I posed that question earlier and you avoided it. Reason would seem to beg that it be answered, and that in the affirmative.So, here is my postulation:1)Slaves are humanIf you agree the above five statements, and don’t mind doing so, let me know.If you disagree with these statements, and you don’t mind doing so, please state what specific part or parts you disagree with and why.Assuming that we can come to more or less agree with the above, I will then move to the next level of my argument.Peace, my fellow human.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 1 of 2Regarding your post at 1:55 PM I must confess I am still in the dark as to the “about five things” that I failed to get back to you on. If you’ll be more specific I’ll be happy to try and respond to your concerns.You asked me earlier: “Where are the defining ‘objective’ parts inherent and unique to Christianity?” I responded that I was trying to lay a foundation here to answer that exact question, but that it would take time. I requested that you bear with me. I hope that you will.NOTE: I am going to use ALL CAPS at several points here. I’m not shouting, just trying to emphasize the point. (I HATE that this tread doesn’t allow html tags.) One of the reasons I wanted to narrow our discussion to the slavery/morality issue speaks directly to your question. I think you are sitting directly on top of a sound argument from reason for the existence of God on this issue. This will take several exchanges to unfold, but I think it is worth the effort.“…let’s look again at slavery. There were indeed times and places where humans were treated as little more than livestock. The societies, specifically the slave owners, apparently had no concerns of ‘moral consequence’ since they saw the slaves merely as less than fully qualified humans. Societies’ attitudes shifted away from this attitude over the millennia and only when those nations/societies accepted the notion of the human-ness of the slaves did they attribute moral consequence to their treatment.”–GRI want to focus on what you termed “the notion of human-ness.” If I understand your above argument correctly, you are positing that slavery became morally “wrong” ONLY BECAUSE SOCIETIES/NATIONS BEGAN TO ACCEPT THE HUMANITY OF SLAVES. You then stated the following:“….if you will notice that the bottom line of the abortion debate is essentially that same argument, WHETHER THE fetus/SLAVE IS ACTUALLY A HUMAN BEING and thus qualified for our sympathies/moral indignation at their treatment.”–GRI then posed the question “On what ground/basis would slaves in contemporary society be “qualified for our sympathies/moral indignation at their treatment?” In your response to that question you offered the example of South African apartheid, apparently contending that such atrocities become morally “wrong” (or worthy of moral consequence) when public opinion reaches a “tipping point.”

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“Again, it is either true or it is not.’

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,Just a quick thought before I’m out the door.You said:”You keep tossing out these immature, false dichotomies, that there is only either one option or one other. That simply isn’t true.”No, I’m not saying there is only one option or another. There is only one true option. All the rest are false. Truth is narrow. What I am saying is truth is either/or. It can’t be both/and. What you are saying is that truth can be both/and. It can be true that a dog is both a dog and also a cat, that you can have your truth and I can have mine and although they oppose each other both can be true.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,A cursory word-count on your last post reveals that you spent less than 3% of your time directly addressing the postulate I offered in my previous post.In the course of your post you 1) Attributed arguments to me that I have not made. 2) Presupposed the structure of the arguments attributed to me that I have not made, and 3) Concluded that you find “no compelling reason to believe” a rather weak argument that you fabricated on my behalf. :-)You seem to be presupposing what my presuppositions are and arguing against them in advance. I offer to you the same protest you offered to Peter Huff yesterday: “You are putting words in my mouth.” None of this qualifies as objective skepticism.To recap, I offered a conclusion (#5) supported by 4 premises (#1, #2, #3, #4). You stated that you disagreed “to a point” with premises #3 & #4, yet never established what the “point” was. You simply jumped to discounting arguments that I have not made.When you said earlier that you really didn’t have any objection to the use of the term “moral” per se, I took you at your word. However, assuming that to be your point of disagreement, if you have some kind of reflexive negative reaction to my use of the word “moral” in premise #3 & #4, simply drop that word from the premises. If you have the same reflexive negative reaction to my use of the word “moral” in my conclusion, feel free to drop it from the conclusion as well. If you disagree with my premise that it is wrong to treat humans as sub-human, it stands to reason that you should offer reasons WHY you disagree with this clearly stated premise. If you disagree that it has always been wrong to treat humans as sub-human, it stands to reason that you should offer reasons WHY you disagree with this clearly stated premise as well.To simply disagree with my conclusion (#5) without demonstrating how I fail to support it with my premises (#1-4) is to merely disagree on the grounds of your own yet-unknown (to me) and yet-unsupported presuppositions. That in no way proves my conclusion wrong.Bearing in mind that I have hardly even begun to construct my argument, I would humbly request that you hold any critique of what you presume my arguments will be until I make those arguments in the manner you are presuming I will make them. Would that not be commensurate with the accepted rules of civil debate and dialog?Also, I would request that you keep in mind that I don’t do “drive-by-debate.” I try to construct my arguments from the ground up, laying a foundation and building on it one argument at the time. Most on these threads don’t have the wherewithal to stay the course with this type of dialog. I don’t perceive that you are one of those. I hope that I am right. Peace, brother.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“4) It has ALWAYS been morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human”If I have failed to directly address your points, please let me know. I usually strive to spend at least 5% of my verbiage on the actual assertions I am challenging. apologies for shorting you. ;-)

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:This is only true from an absolutist/academically-philosophical(esoteric) point of view. Certainly a dog cannot be a cat, but there you are talking about specific physical objects that can be quantifiably measured and definitively compared. The abstract concepts themselves are not universal, quantifiable or demonstrably comparable. Truth is an abstract concept that can only reasonably be debated logically after we assign this concept of ‘truth’ to something that is quantifiable and demonstrable. When you employ the do cat/dog example you are doing that. We are then not at all talking about the nature or value of true/false (abstract) you are literally talking about cats/dogs (demonstrable physical objects). Evidences of physical objects do not prove, nor are they directly applicable to metaphysical concepts.“ that you can have your truth and I can have mine and although they oppose each other both can be true”

  • Freestinker

    Freestinker, you don’t get off the hook that easily. Just as I question the claim “Gods exist as a matter of irrefutable fact,” I also question the claim “Gods don’t exist as a matter of irrefutable fact.” Granted, the former claim has a far greater burden of proof because of the extraordinary nature of the claim. But any atheists who reject even the possibility of things existing beyond human detection must still justify that rejection.==========Carstonio,I never claimed gods do not exist. I cliam in all likeliehood the probably do not exist but like you I’m still open to the possibility however remote it may be.I use the phrase “god emotion” to suggest that if supernatural gods do not exist as actual beings, then the term “gods” refers to a human idea or concept as you put it. I also suggest that the idea or concept of gods may be the result of human emotions such as fear or awe.So in this sense gods are real and they do exist, even if just in the minds or hearts of believers.In short, gods are most likely just human beliefs and nothing more. Without humans to create and believe in them, gods would very likely cease to exist.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,To summarize you rejection of my 3rd and 4th premises: You reject the premise that it is morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human (my 3rd premise)……BECAUSE……some contemporary cultures consider some humans “less-than-equal.”You reject the premise that it has ALWAYS been morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human (my 4th premise)……BECAUSE……history shows that many cultures/institutions did indeed treat humans as sub-human.Is that a fair assessment of your rejection of my 3rd and 4th premises?

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:regards;

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,“Reasoning doesn’t help that much either. If you are using Aristotelian logic as ‘perfected’ by Aquinas, your logic and reasoning reflect the biases and blatant presuppositions of medieval, western philosophy. A Chinese philosopher, using that culture’s notions and concepts of ‘reason’ would neither use the same philosophical tools nor necessarily arrive at the same conclusions. You are aware that the same principles you just delineated can be equally applied to your own philosophy, right? If you are going to dismiss any and all forms of reasoning on the basis of external influences, then your own form of reasoning falls to the same sword. It seems to me that your position is self-defeating. If we can know nothing with any reasonable degree of certainty (as you seem to be contending) we can never be certain, to any reasonable degree, that we can know nothing with with any reasonable degree of certainty. That should cause you to immediately remove yourself from any form of debate.You are taking the position of philosophical skepticism (we can know nothing with certainty) all the while arguing that your position is one of methodological skepticism (the sorting out of true/false claims). You can’t have it both ways.(Don’t let this distract too much from our discussion of morality/slavery).

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,”I stand by my statements as I have presented them. Your ‘summarizations’ have altered the wording and thus the actual meaning. I have agreed to your request to control the pacing of the debate, please reciprocate by allowing my words to stand as I have presented them.”–GRThose summations of your rejection of my premises were my honest assessment. If they are wrong, please condense them to an understandable reject/because statement.The possibility remains that I misunderstood you, hence the question “are these a fair summary of your rejections?”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“You are taking the position of philosophical skepticism”Regards;

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,”(Not easily distracted.)”–GRThan you didn’t miss my the post prior to that one? :-)Peace.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,ME: “You are aware that the same principles you just delineated can be equally applied to your own philosophy, right? If you are going to dismiss any and all forms of reasoning on the basis of external influences, then your own form of reasoning falls to the same sword.”YOU: “I am simply taking positions based on knowledge, experience and observation on individual assertions as they are presented.”And your knowledge, experience, and observation are conditioned by external influences, no? Your method of reasoning still falls by the same sword with which you slay all other methods of reasoning.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“3)It is morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human’”““4) It has ALWAYS been morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human””I hope this helps.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,”I have only ever contended that we are not (apparently) able to reason/know with ABSOLUTE certainty. I am in fact, quite comfortable with many, many degrees of ‘reasonable certainty.’”–GRSo…we can’t know with any degree of reasonable certainty that it is morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human?And…we can’t know with any degree of reasonable certainty that it has ALWAYS been morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human?

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Would you be more agreeable to my premises and conclusion if I worded them as follows?1)We know with a reasonable degree of certainty that slaves are human2)We know with a reasonable degree of certainty that slaves have ALWAYS been human3)We know with a reasonable degree of certainty that it is morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human4)We know with a reasonable degree of certainty that it has ALWAYS been morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human5)Hence, we know with a reasonable degree of certainty that it has ALWAYS been morally wrong to treat slaves as sub-humanPlease note that I contend that all five of these points can, with a reasonable degree of certainty, be considered true irregardless of public/societal opinions or norms.(I thought it was you who was concerned that this dialog not turn into a game of semantics?!)Peace, brother.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:I do not dismiss from reasoning, yours or mine ‘any and all’ (yet another absolute) forms of external influence. I do not see how this slays any method of reasoning by swordsmanship or any other form of metaphorical weaponry. GR

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,“3)It is morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human’”–RCO”I reject this on the basis that it does not seem to fully, accurately describe reality. Certain cultures do indeed still consider some people as less than fully qualified humans. They appear to do so without moral conflict. For those societies, I cannot agree that it is for them, morally wrong to treat some humans as less-than fully qualified humans, as their cultural concept of morality does not define it as immoral.”–GRThen, using you own method of reasoning, it was not morally wrong for the hi-jackers of 9/11 to fly planes into the WTC to kill “infidels” who they considered less than human. You should have experienced no moral indignation when you watched it unfold on your local news-cast. “4) It has ALWAYS been morally wrong to treat humans as sub-human””–RCO”I reject this on the same basis as 3.) Historically almost all societies treated some people as less than human. In addition, historical records outlining the treatment of slaves, women and captured or defeated peoples did not indicate moral reservation or conflict. Thus there is no indication that the moral codes of those cultures included slavery, etc. as a no-no.”–GRThen, using your own method of reasoning, it was not morally wrong for slave owners of bygone years to maim and kill their slaves, whom they considered sub-human. You have no reason to experience moral indignation when you watch “Roots.”If you feel I am misrepresenting your method of reason, how so?If not, are you sure you want to stand by what you have said?I know with “a reasonable degree of certainty” that your position cannot be maintained with integrity within the context of your own conscience. If I were a betting man, I would bet my house that your conscience betrays your philosophy.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“thought it was you who was concerned that this dialog not turn into a game of semantics”

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,”I do not see how this slays any method of reasoning by swordsmanship or any other form of metaphorical weaponry.”–GRThen your offering to Peter Huff that “reasoning doesn’t help that much either” was an irrelevant argument, right?If Aristotelian logic, Aquinan logic, and Chinese logic….and GLADERUNNER logic “doesn’t help that much,” what was your point?

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“You should have experienced no moral indignation when you watched it unfold on your local news-cast.”“If you feel I am misrepresenting your method of reason, how so?”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 2Your only avenue of justifying your moral indignation at such atrocities is to appeal to an international consensus—a universal “status quo” that “evolves” and tips at the 50.00000001% mark of the general world population agreement. OR, you simply hide behind a more secure prison system and a stronger standing army.When you strip away all the smoke and mirrors, that is what you are arguing. Pure, undiluted Darwinian natural selection/survival of the fittest. You really don’t want to live in a world where such becomes the exclusive basis of moral standards.And I find it utterly astounding that an intelligent, articulate, 21st century individual such as yourself cannot agree that we can know with a reasonable degree of certainty that it is, and always has been, morally wrong to treat humans as if they are sub-human. If you simply refuse to agree to that statement, let me know and I will take another avenue of argumentation on this particular issue. I have several warming up in the bull-pen.“If you feel I am misrepresenting your method of reason, how so?”–RCO“Because you are making the unsubstantiated claim of the universality of a single, fixed moral code (and universal awareness/knowledge thereof) for all peoples of all times.”–GRMay I ask you to show me where I have made that claim? You have, from the moment we engaged on this topic, presumed that. I have not made that claim.“You seem to assume that my moral code is exactly the same as some whack-job, suicidal, religious-fanatic terrorist or slave beater.”–GRIf ever there were a reasonable degree of certainty as to the existence of a straw-man, that is a straw-man. :-)Peace, my fellow human.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 1 of 2ME: “You should have experienced no moral indignation when you watched it unfold on your local news-cast.”YOU: “Really? Wow…. I was expecting a little better than this. Do I really need to point out that I, like most people in the U.S. certainly experienced enormous moral indignation at the events? My moral standards as well as those of many cultures around the world were certainly violated. But as for the terrorists themselves, was their moral code violated? I can only assume that no, they were not. Their morality if we are to accept the stories, is that they were in fact insuring for themselves a virgin-plentiful eternal afterlife.”–GRAnd you missed the point entirely. If they did not violate their “moral standard,” on what grounds did you feel moral indignation? Why, on the grounds of the fact that they violated your moral standard, of course. Do you not realize what you just did? You just posited that your “moral standard” is better than theirs. You wanted them to adhere to your moral standard. On what grounds are you contending that your moral standard is better? Why, because the consensus in our country is that such things are morally reprehensible. But in their country of origin the consensus is that what they did was morally commendable. Simple question: Why is your consensus superior to theirs? If you are consistent with your reasoning, you should not experience moral indignation because they did not violate their moral standards. But my moral standard is better than theirs, say you. Why? You have consistently argued “status quo” as the ground of judging morality. Of course, you want to insist that they abide by your “status quo”-established moral standard, don’t you? Which it does, indeed, seem that you do, as you offer the ever-ominous and always effective (sic) threat of “prisons and standing armies.” What gives you the right to force your moral standard on them?Flip the situation around. Say they killed 3,000 of their fellow countrymen in their own country of origin because they happened to disagree with the tyranny of Muslim rule. The “status quo” has established that such atrocities are morally commendable in said country. You feel moral indignation. Why? They didn’t violate their moral standard. Yet you would want them held accountable to your moral standard. On what grounds? Because yours is better? Why? If you were sitting across the table from one of these monsters, how would you justify your contention that your moral standard is better than his? That his planned actions are not acceptable to the “status quo”-established moral standard of your country? That you would put him in prison and then have him executed if he carried out his murderous intent? Good luck with that.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“If you are consistent with your reasoning, you should not experience moral indignation because they did not violate their moral standards”“You have consistently argued “status quo” as the ground of judging morality”“Of course, you want to insist that they abide by your “status quo”-established moral standard, don’t you?”“What gives you the right to force your moral standard on them?”“Which it does, indeed, seem that you do, as you offer the ever-ominous and always effective (sic) threat of “prisons and standing armies.”’“What gives you the right to force your moral standard on them”“You feel moral indignation. Why? They didn’t violate their moral standard”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“Pure, undiluted Darwinian natural selection/survival of the fittest”“And I find it utterly astounding that an intelligent, articulate, 21st century individual such as yourself cannot agree that we can know with a reasonable degree of certainty that it is, and always has been, morally wrong to treat humans as if they are sub-human.’“May I ask you to show me where I have made that claim?”Cheers!

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,ME: “And I find it utterly astounding that an intelligent, articulate, 21st century individual such as yourself cannot agree that we can know with a reasonable degree of certainty that it is, and always has been, morally wrong to treat humans as if they are sub-human.’”YOU: “Funny that, we actually agree on a huge percentage of the standards, we’re really just bickering over the source.”I have claimed no “source.” Your insistence that I am implying such says more about your presuppositions than it says about mine.YOU: You and I both agree that to treat humans as something other than fully qualified humans is ‘immoral’.”When did you agree that it was immoral to treat any humans as something other than fully qualified humans?YOU: “Why does it matter so much WHY I believe in that standard? Why must I agree with the phrase ‘and always has been’ for us to get along and simply agree to agree?”Slick, but no cigar. You rejected my premise #3 which did not contain the qualifying phrase “and always has been,” even offering contemporary examples of cultures where it is “not immoral” to treat humans as something less than human. Notice:YOU: “I reject this (premise #3) on the basis that it does not seem to fully, accurately describe reality. Certain cultures do indeed still consider some people as less than fully qualified humans. They appear to do so without moral conflict. For those societies, I cannot agree that it is for them, morally wrong to treat some humans as less-than fully qualified humans, as their cultural concept of morality does not define it as immoral.”–GRSo which is it? Is it immoral or nay? YOU: “Because YOU ARE MAKING THE UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIM of the universality of a single, fixed moral code (and universal awareness/knowledge thereof) for all peoples of all times.” (emphasis added) ME: “May I ask you to show me where I have made that claim?”YOU: “I never did. I only said ‘’you seem to assume’???You seemed to conclude where I was going from the beginning on this issue and appear to be playing the part of the skeptical contrary to avoid admitting to what you presume I will conclude. Even to the point that you now seem to be contradicting yourself (see above).Am I wrong? If I am, may we return to my 4 premises and resultant conclusion?Peace, brother.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“When did you agree that it was immoral to treat any humans as something other than fully qualified humans”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“YOU: “I never did. I only said ‘’you seem to assume’ ???”

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 3“I don’t think I’m withholding or obfuscating my own position, I don’t see any need to. I am a bit puzzled, but not prohibitively so, about your reluctance to tell me what your basis for your view, or actual interpretation, of morality is.”–GRI have nowhere obfuscated my position. The fact that I have not yet stated my conclusion does not qualify as “obfuscation.” I will built my argument one brick at the time until I have enough in place for my conclusion to make sense. Again, I have already told you this: I try to lay a foundation and then build one argument at the time until I have an entire house. I’m not “withholding” the house, I’m trying to build it. Of course, thus far, I’m having to work with a trowel in one hand to build and a sword in the other hand to defend myself, but I’m certainly accustomed to that on these threads.Having said that, it should be rather obvious that my position is that of mono-theism. Likewise, I think it’s rather obvious you are coming from a position of secular agnosticism, though some of your responses seem almost anti-theistic. The point being, I am trying to treat your position with respectful disagreement based on what you say. I’m trying not to presume what particular baggage you come to the table with, but rather let that become obvious through your own posts as we progress in our discussion—and deal with it THEN. May I request that you reciprocate?“So in my head I’ve admittedly assumed certain things based on what you’ve said or the way you said them. Guilty. Either clear the air or quit griping about my readily admitted inability to read your mind accurately.”–GRYou don’t have to read my mind to understand what I am saying, do you? Why not just deal with my arguments rather than psycho-analyze me? It almost has the appearance that you think there is some “sinister theistic motive” in everything I say and you are reacting to what you think you have perceived rather than what I have actually said. :-) ME: “So which is it? Is it immoral or nay?”YOU: “Aye for me, nay for them.”So…can you say with any “reasonable degree of certainty” that your moral indignation at their actions is more justified than their (the 9/11 perpetrators) actions? If so, why? If not, aren’t we just talking about personal preference? In other words, were they right in their actions and you wrong in your moral indignation—or were they wrong in their actions and you right in your moral indignation. You can’t reasonably have it both ways.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 3 of 3“Kudos.”–GRNot looking to “score points” on peripheral issues, just seeking clarity. That point spoke directly to the assumptions you have been making.This is precisely the point I was trying to make above. If I just jumped in here and said “GOD DID IT” with the requisite “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it” mantra of mindless fundamentalism, you would (rightly) dismiss me as “barely-literate” and that would be the end of the discussion. Right?Do I believe “God did it?” I do indeed. And my position is no less based on “knowledge, experience and observation” than is yours. You professed relative neutrality on the “God-hypothesis.” I’m not neutral on that issue, and I have good reason not to be. That is what I am trying to communicate to you. So, if you will allow me to present my evidence and reason for such—slowly, thoughtfully, and rationally, I would be appreciative. Thanks. I appreciate that. So here goes:“I rejected #3 it on the grounds that the word ‘immoral’ was used by you as if based on something other that what it appears to be in reality, relative to time place, culture. If you look at news reports it certainly appears to me that there are a lot of people in lots of places that don’t share our value system. Yet your statement, especially when coupled with #4 seems to claim that we all share a common set and always have, and that those thugs we see in Pakistan and Afghanistan are actually cognizant of the innate immorality of their behaviors rather than merely acting on their own sense of morality.”–GRIs this a sufficient summary of your position as it relates to premise #3 &4:“We cannot say that the abuse and murder of other humans is ALWAYS immoral……BECAUSE……both history and contemporary times tell us that there are some times/places/cultures where humans are not cognizant of the innate immorality of such behavior.”If that is not sufficient feel free to modify it so that it accurately reflects your position.Peace, brother.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 1 of 3“You certainly have not claimed a source, but you certainly seem to be uncomfortable with mine.”–GRIndeed I am uncomfortable with your “source.” Subjective standards of morality are exactly the cause of the atrocities we both find repulsive.“If it is not the shared conclusion between my worldview and yours, that humans should be treated as humans, what exactly is the issue?”–GRObjective standards of morality. The “how” (of arriving at moral standards) has everything to do with the “is” (the daily atrocities we see committed based on aberrant moral standards). “You have called me out several times for assuming something about your position without ever telling me whether my assumptions were actually correct or incorrect.”–GRYour assumptions thus far have been incorrect because you are not only assuming what my position is, you are trying to append a whole lot of presupposed baggage (straw-men, really) to that position that simply doesn’t exist. That’s why I requested that we take this slowly. When I finally arrive at my conclusion (if we keep at it here) you will see that there is not nearly the baggage you thought and that the conclusion is far more reasonable than you are now willing to admit.“I’m not playing “Guess my Religion” here, I really don’t care one way or another whether you’re Catholic, Evangelical, Lutheran, Muslim or Pagan, my own assertions and worldview or arguments for them don’t change much based on your theology, or lack thereof.”–GRThen why not dispense with playing “Guess My Conclusion,” and simply deal honestly with my progression of arguments—one at the time?“I’m not ‘laying out a strategy’ here, I’m just shooting from the hip.”–GRWell, I’m not shooting from the hip. I’ve already told you I don’t do “drive-by-debate.” There is enough of that going on here that I don’t need to throw my “two cents” into the mix. I’m bringing my whole dollar to the table—ten cents at the time, mind you—but I’ll eventually get the whole buck into play. The problem with the “two cents” approach is that you only get an impossibly convoluted amalgamation of what amounts to nothing more than opinion. Opinions are like butt-holes. Everybody has one, so they aren’t really worth much. I’m interested in more than opinions.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“So…can you say with any “reasonable degree of certainty” that your moral indignation at their actions is more justified than their (the 9/11 perpetrators) actions”“If not, aren’t we just talking about personal preference?”“In other words, were they right in their actions and you wrong in your moral indignation—or were they wrong in their actions and you right in your moral indignation”“You can’t reasonably have it both ways”(Cntd.)

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:Oh yeah… I apologize for the snarkiness of some of my responses. I mean no disrespect. Sometimes I am snarky as a reaction to, or because…. Well, okay, sometimes I just like being snarky. Peace and blessings to you brother… GR

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 2 of 3Then you have no way of knowing which is ultimately right—their actions or your moral indignation. For all you know their murderous mission was the right thing to do and your moral indignation was utterly trivial. If you can’t know with certainty (whoops! I meant “a reasonable degree of certainty”) why waste the energy on moral indignation? For all you seem to be willing to commit to, maybe they should have been given a medal of honor posthumously. Who can possibly know, right?Your modified response to my premise #3 & 4:“‘We cannot say that the abuse and murder of other humans is ALWAYS (or universally) immoral……BECAUSE……both history and contemporary times tell us that there are some times/places/cultures where some people do not recognize the validity, are not cognizant, or do not accept the very premise, of the innate immorality of such behavior.’”–GROk. Let’s test your “because” reasoning.You observe that other cultures often do not SEEM (notice my correction of YOUR absolute statement—we “cannot”/people “do not”–…gasp!) to be cognizant/accepting/recognizing of the premise of the innate immorality of the abuse and murder of other human beings. You then conclude that if they are not cognizant/accepting/recognizing of the immorality of such, then we cannot say that such actions are immoral for them. (As an aside, you seem to be absolutely certain of this, despite your knee-jerk reactions to absolute statements I have made. Are you sure you don’t accept ANY absolutes, or is it just my absolutes that are giving you heartburn?)…….:-)Anyway, back to my point. Is your postulate accurate, or does the possibility exist that you have either overlooked something or are interpreting the data incorrectly? How might we test your contention that these cultures, etc. “do not recognize,” or “are not cognizant” or “do not accept” the premise that such behavior is innately immoral? Let’s start by testing your “cognizant” statement, as it comprehends “recognize” and may even have some bearing on the validity of “accept.”

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 3 of 3 Let’s use a hypothetical 4-5 year old Muslim boy. I chose the age of 4-5 years because it is commonly accepted that a child is becoming cognizant by this age. He has not yet been exposed to extreme violence due to his tender age. One day his father, a radical jihadist, says “come, little Muhammed, I want you to witness something you have never seen before.” He carries the young boy into a dark room, where, to shorten the hypothetical, the child witnesses the brutal beheading of an “enemy” of Islam. Two questions: 1) What do you think this young boy’s response would be to what he has just witnessed? 2) Why would this little boy react this way?Second hypothetical: A 12 year old son of a slave owner in the early 19th century. He was born on a plantation and has witnessed the occasional abuse of slaves, but nothing heavy-duty. One afternoon his father calls him into the barn where a slave is tied to a post. The slave has sorely displeased the owner and is to be beaten. The slave-owner informs his son that he is now old enough to witness such beatings and “learn the ropes.” The slave is beaten until the flesh on his back hangs in bloody ribbons, all the while screaming, weeping, voiding his bowels, and begging for mercy that is not forthcoming.Obviously the 12 year old boy, just like the 4-5 year old boy, recoils in unimaginable horror. He runs from the barn wailing in horror, vomiting as he runs through the barn door, and wetting himself as he flies into his mother’s arms. Why would this young man react this way?If you will, respond to this and I will take up my argument from there. Sorry for the graphic descriptions.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Part 1 of 3I must say that despite my disagreement with you concerning the source of moral standards you do have a commendable sense of humor.I’ll not respond directly to everything you posted as I am running a bit short on time. I want to get to my point fairly quickly, so here we go.“People have different standards, therefore the actions of others may seem to us lewd, atrocious, foul and even evil, as ours certainly also do to them.”–GRBut we cannot say without equivocation that Muslims (or anyone else) strapping C4 to their chest and running into marketplaces, flying planes into buildings filled with peaceful individual, and indiscriminately sawing other folk’s heads of with a rusty machete is always, actually, certainly, universally and morally wrong, can we? “I never said that ;-)”–GRYou didn’t have to any more than I had to say mono-theism. There never were any stripes from my perspective. ;-)“Not necessarily ‘sinister’.”–GRBut to be avoided even at the expense of reason, right?“I can’t objectively compare the weight/altitude of a concept/belief against the weight/altitude of a specific physical action.”–GRIndeed. A rather debilitating problem when one has no fixed point of objective standard. That renders your moral indignation of no more consequence (weight) than the 9/11 atrocity.“Career, investment strategy, choice of medical provider, wife, worldview are all a little more deliberate and thoroughly thought out.”–GRMaybe a little better thought out, but at the root still—in exactly the same way as 9/11 perpetrators/your moral indignation—a matter of personal preference. Ultimately, the differing personal preference—and hence the atrocity—is of no real consequence with the framework of your reasoning.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“A rather debilitating problem when one has no fixed point of objective standard.” “the differing personal preference—and hence the atrocity—is of no real consequence with the framework of your reasoning.”“Then you have no way of knowing which is ultimately right—their actions or your moral indignation.”“For all you know their murderous mission was the right thing to do and your moral indignation was utterly trivial.”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“You then conclude that if they are not cognizant/accepting/recognizing of the immorality of such, then we cannot say that such actions are immoral for them.”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:As for you hypothetical situations. I’m not quite finished thinking about them yet. They have been pretty strong seeds for contemplation though. I’m going to try to organize my thoughts a little better, drink some wine, engage in banal chats with the wife, walk the dog. I may wait until tomorrow to post my answer. I may even bounce them off the ladies in my book club in our meeting in the morning. Yeah, you caught me, I’m a reader… I do want to add that you have provided the most challenging, civil, entertaining and thought provoking discussion I’ve experienced in a very long time. Please understand that I mean none (hardly any) of my remarks as personal attacks on you, your choices, or your character. Regards;

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,You said,”I have standards, lots of them. I just don’t see any reason to believe that everyone else on the planet that ever was and ever will be, shares them with me equally. In fact I know quite a few people on these very forums that don’t. Just ask peterhuff or that TTWS- guy on the other posts. I don’t think they think like me at all.”So to you truth is in the eye of the beholder. We all make up our own truth. For me it is true that there is an absolute universal standard of truth and for you there is not. My truth (X=X) is different from your truth. For you it does not. It can equal anything you deem it to equal. Good can be bad depending on how you look at it or care to define it.You are the one implying that we all have our own standards and that our environment, culture, peer groups, etc., usually determine what we believe. That is how a group can justify flying planes into buildings or a culture can justify exterminating 11 million unwanted/unfit people. ‘It is what we believe is good or will be for the good of others of like mind!’I definitely believe that most sane people know deep down (it is written on their consciousness) that certain things are morally wrong, that there has to be an objective standard in order to justify goodness, however the problem is that man suppresses the truth of God to practice what he wants to do (Romans 1:18). He wants to live on his own terms without any ultimate authority. On that basis of preference then what makes my belief that is opposite to yours wrong? Just because you believe it is wrong. That is what makes it wrong! Because a group of people whom you associate with or share a common culture with say it is wrong?What you are telling me is that you determine the standard, as per your first sentence above, and that you base it on another subjective standard that some other subjective person/people have put in place in your culture based on their preference(s), that was based on someone else’s, and so on it goes. For you in particular, that standard is what your culture deems as ‘good.’ For others in your culture it is what their particular sub-group/culture deems as good. And for some in your culture it is what they themselves believe to be good. They are a law unto themselves. So which is it? Which is good? Is it what the majority deems as good, what the gatekeepers deem as good, what the tyrant or individual deems as good? It is irrelevant really because there is no fixed standard and when you are dead nothing ultimately matters that you know of, so believe whatever you want to or are forced to by others.It’s all based on personal preference; nothing more than feelings. So in some cultures they love their enemies and in others they eat them or exterminate them? What is your preference?”There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“I definitely believe that most sane people know deep down (it is written on their consciousness) that certain things are morally wrong,”“He wants to live on his own terms without any ultimate authority”“Because a group of people whom you associate with or share a common culture with say it is wrong?”

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“I definitely believe that most sane people know deep down (it is written on their consciousness) that certain things are morally wrong,”“He wants to live on his own terms without any ultimate authority”“Because a group of people whom you associate with or share a common culture with say it is wrong?”

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“So in some cultures they love their enemies and in others they eat them or exterminate them? Thanks for responding.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:Regards,

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Fancy foot-work notwithstanding, you’re dodging.You know full well that neither of my hypothises are outside the realm of possibility. In all likelihood they have both taken place at some point in time by simply adjusting the variables only slightly.Many grown men, even from the respective cultures, would react with some degree of queasiness if not outright revulsion to such brutality, let alone my two young examples. Only the most case-hardened mind could remain completely unaffected, and that takes time and exposure. I guarantee you they weren’t unaffected the first (or even the second or third or fourth) time they witnessed such brutality.Regardless of what age or at what point of external influence you draw the line, there remains some point where the reactions I described are common to all children.My question stands: Why?And yes, I’ve seen third-world conditions first-hand in doing foreign mission work, more than once or twice under the threat of being assaulted and possibly even murdered. Are you familiar with the hill-dwelling “dung gatherer” caste in India? So I’m not talking out of the top of my hat here.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,I would just like to comment on one of your thoughts to RCofield before getting back to our discussion.You said:Yes, I was born in a third world country and I have seen impoverished, malnourished, starving Africans for the first fourteen years of my life before coming to Canada (Back twice since -worked one year in SA, and lived Apartheid).I’ve seen the effects of tribalism and communism at work in Africa. We boarder the Congo during political unrest in the sixties and my mother work for the Special Branch. I’ve witnessed the corruption of power in many of these nations and my 84 year old uncle, who lived just outside of Marondera, Zimbabwe, saw his wife brutally murder by the hired help and a few years later the farm he had worked for fifty years or so was confiscated by the Zimbabwe government under President Robert Mugabe.I have also served as a short term missionary in Davoa, the Philippines, with the poorest people in that city. They live in squalor, running sewers along the streets, excretement washing up on the beaches where young kids swim and play, where Dengue fever and other tropical diseases are prevalent, where tuberculosis is still prevalent. We lived and shared and ate with these poor Muslims for two weeks without once preaching the gospel because a few years earlier they had shot a Christian and laid him out in the street in the figure of a cross. OMF had been serving these people for years to better their lives out of genuine concern for their wellbeing.Yes, I’m out of touch with such poverty now but that has not always been the case.In 2005 our short term missions group went to Kenya and invested in the Mully Children’s home, an orphanage, also going into the heart of Nairobi’s poorest slums in which a few months later there were mass riots in which people were killed. The funny thing about Africa is that it is more receptive to Christianity than North America or Europe. Millions are coming to faith in the Lord. They had their share of worthless world-views that offer no hope for the future and relativistic truth claims that took them down dead-end philosophies that have no ultimate explanatory nature to them. Corruption in almost every country in Africa after the effects of Christianity had worn off, many adopting their own view of good and evil, right and wrong. Disease and bloodshed on mass scales as one butcher was replaced by another one with a relativistic outlook to life.

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“In all likelihood they have both taken place at some point in time”“Many grown men, even from the respective cultures, would react with some degree of queasiness if not outright revulsion to such brutality”“I guarantee you they weren’t unaffected the first (or even the second or third or fourth) time they witnessed such brutality.”“here remains some point where the reactions I described are common to all children.”

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:“Are you familiar with the hill-dwelling “dung gatherer” caste in India?”

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff::

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,You said:”Read the constitution lately? We the people, majorities, representative legislation. Our culture/society making rules for themselves based on a plurality/majority consensus.” – GRNo I haven’t read it lately, I’m Canadian, eh. (^8But how about the Declaration of Independence?”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”“For me it is true that there is an absolute universal standard of truth and for you there is not.” _Me”That appears to be the state of things. Note however, that both of us interpret truth in different ways. You in one way, I in another.” – GROkay, we are back to this again.I’m going to be using arguments from Ronald Nash’s, Life’s Ultimate Questions. They don’t originate with me.To you truth can be both true (A) and false (non-A) at the same time and in the same sense, depending on where you live. So in the USA what you term good, same-sex marriage, is termed bad in another country, say Saudi Arabia.Now, do you agree with or disagree with the definition ‘truth is a property of propositions that correspond to the way things are?’ Or can truth be what corresponds to the way things are not?If it corresponds to the way things really are then truth is objective and independent of human preference (our likes and desires) and as such our feelings about truth don’t alter it or change the truth.If it does not, then my truth being different from your truth could believe that A, a circle, and B, a square, can be both round and square at the same time and in the same sense, or I could believe that A, a dog, is B, a cat, or C, a human being.Furthermore, is stating that truth is relative relatively true or absolutely true? If it is relatively true then it is a self-defeating statement because it can change on the whim of the individual. No argument can be wrong if truth is relative. You have nothing to object to but your dislikes.Are the laws of logic necessary to make sense of language or to communicate universally across the human race? If so then this is not a relative truth. It applies to everyone everywhere. Deny it and a horse becomes a cow or river to me. Now try and understand what I am saying. Hey, I make my own truth. What you are doing is blurring the lines of truth and virtue, because without objective standards what is the difference between a truth and a lie? Your likes and dislikes as opposed to your neighbors likes and dislikes.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,You said:”Read the constitution lately? We the people, majorities, representative legislation. Our culture/society making rules for themselves based on a plurality/majority consensus.” – GRNo I haven’t read it lately, I’m Canadian, eh. (^8But how about the Declaration of Independence?”We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”“For me it is true that there is an absolute universal standard of truth and for you there is not.” _Me”That appears to be the state of things. Note however, that both of us interpret truth in different ways. You in one way, I in another.” – GROkay, we are back to this again.I’m going to be using arguments from Ronald Nash’s, Life’s Ultimate Questions. They don’t originate with me.To you truth can be both true (A) and false (non-A) at the same time and in the same sense, depending on where you live. So in the USA what you term good, same-sex marriage, is termed bad in another country, say Saudi Arabia.Now, do you agree with or disagree with the definition ‘truth is a property of propositions that correspond to the way things are?’ Or can truth be what corresponds to the way things are not?If it corresponds to the way things really are then truth is objective and independent of human preference (our likes and desires) and as such our feelings about truth don’t alter it or change the truth.If it does not, then my truth being different from your truth could believe that A, a circle, and B, a square, can be both round and square at the same time and in the same sense, or I could believe that A, a dog, is B, a cat, or C, a human being.Furthermore, is stating that truth is relative relatively true or absolutely true? If it is relatively true then it is a self-defeating statement because it can change on the whim of the individual. No argument can be wrong if truth is relative. You have nothing to object to but your dislikes.Are the laws of logic necessary to make sense of language or to communicate universally across the human race? If so then this is not a relative truth. It applies to everyone everywhere. Deny it and a horse becomes a cow or river to me. Now try and understand what I am saying. Hey, I make my own truth. What you are doing is blurring the lines of truth and virtue, because without objective standards what is the difference between a truth and a lie? Your likes and dislikes as opposed to your neighbors likes and dislikes.

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“I’m Canadian, eh.”“Ronald Nash’s, Life’s Ultimate Questions”“it proves that relativism is true. Is that true?”I see no compelling reason to believe that there is a single moral code, fixed for all time, and accessible to all people of all places and times simply through contemplation or reasoning. Regards;

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,Again you are confusing imagination with truth. The two do not necessarily go together. Truth is what actually is. Yes you can imaging a horse being a cow, by mistaken identity, but that in reality is not what a horse is. Just because you blur the line does not mean that it no longer exists, or as you want it. And there are places for those who can no longer separate reality with fiction and imagination.”Now, do you agree with or disagree with the definition ‘truth is a property of propositions that correspond to the way things are?’ Or can truth be what corresponds to the way things are not?” – Me”You are repeating yourself. I have stated time and again what I consider truth to be and have also repeatedly stated that the tests used to determine ‘truth’ about physical objects and concepts do not necessarily/proportionately translate to metaphysical/intellectual concepts.” -GROkay then, what is the object or reality that you use to determine intellectual concepts such as goodness? You draw attention to disagreements among cultures and groups and say that because there are such disagreements it proves (as much as a subjective and relative being can prove anything) that truth in relation to goodness is relative/subjective. For you truth changes because we are subjective and some people like one preference and others like another. Logically I have pointed out that your idea of goodness is illogical. I have given you three laws of logic, the law of excluded middles, the law of contradiction and the law of identity to show you that two belief structures that state different things about goodness cannot both logically be true or good. Now you have talked around it and explained to me in your mind how you can picture a horse being a cow or possible even imagine a square circle (have you tried that one out in your mind yet?), but what is imagined does not necessarily equal what is real. You know certain truths because they correspond to what is real and you can verify them physically, but the concept two plus two equals four cannot be tasted, heard, seen, etc. Therefore do you doubt that it is true, even absolutely true?”Can a cow be a horse in my mind? Certainly! It can even be an animal that does not actually exist in nature. Can a cow be a horse in physical reality? No.” -GRThe only way a cow can be a horse in your mind is if you have a wrong concept of a cow, and that is exactly what you have about goodness, if you believe that it can mean whatever a person believes it to mean. “I never mastered philosophy and philosophical debate primarily because I did not find that it ever solved any real problems.” – GRWell I’ll have you know that it is the thing that evolutionary science is made of – natural philosophy. People presuppose that things came into existence either by God or by some other means. Science itself starts with theories that are tested for validation. But the point is no human was there for beginnings.

  • peterhuff

    Hi Gladerunner,You said:There are lots of reasons, of which we are barely scratching the surface.Since you mentioned reason, let’s be reasonable here. It is reasonable to believe that the universe had a beginning? Not to long ago most people believed the universe was eternal. Science has proved that in probability this is not the case. It seems to have begun to exist. Do you find that reasonable to believe? Next question, do you find it more reasonable to believe that Mind is behind the universe or blind, indifferent, random chance and happenstance (as he uses his mind to think of the possibilities)?Next question, do you think that it is more reasonable to believe life comes from B/being or that life comes from matter when you consider and witness all that you see (without all the baggage that is supposed with philosophical naturalism)? Next question, do you believe that science has actually proved that creatures evolve not just within kind/species, but from other kinds/species just because we have similarities and inhabit/share a common environment?Next question, how do you know that you are not the one walking in darkness rather than me?”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:1-5)We probably both agree that there was a beginning, but it is how things have been made that we are in disagreement, and you cling to your subjective, relative to the individual, truth that is on shaky ground, because of its foundation that can mean what the individual wills it to mean and that relies on subjective, limited reasoning that believes man is the measure or all things.

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,So, in summary, you are saying you see no evidence whatsoever that the vast majority of humanity has, at some point in their life, an innate revulsion to brutality?

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“For you truth changes because we are subjective and some people like one preference and others like another.”“but the concept two plus two equals four cannot be tasted, heard, seen, etc. Therefore do you doubt that it is true, even absolutely true?”“It is reasonable to believe that the universe had a beginning? “

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,Let me re-phrase that: So, in summary, you are saying you see no evidence that could produce a reasonable degree of certainty that the vast majority of humanity has, at some point in their life, an innate revulsion to brutality?

  • gladerunner

    Peterhuff:“do you believe that science has actually proved that creatures evolve not just within kind/species, but from other kinds/species”“Next question, how do you know that you are not the one walking in darkness rather than me?”You actually offered up scripture as evidence for something? Really? Have you not been paying attention?

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:All I said was, and I don’t feel compelled to keep modifying it until it fits more neatly into your template, is that by all appearances, different people in different cultures at different times have different value systems. Some of these values are long-term and widespread, some are not. I see no compelling reason to accept the theory that there is one universal golden, fixed set of morality for all people at all times in all places.GR

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:Regards;

  • RCofield

    CARSTONIO,You still around?

  • RCofield

    GLADERUNNER,”I don’t completely disagree that there seems to be an innate (natural/instinctive) revulsion to acts of brutality (blood, gore, rotting flesh, dismembered limbs, evisceration, etc.) and that repeated exposure can harden the conscious toward them.”–GRThat does seem to be a more reasonable position that you indicated in your previous post. I guess my question would be to what extent do you disagree? Do you not agree that it rises to the level of something we can know with “a reasonable degree of certainty”?”I simply wanted to point out that I do not know it to be true for all people in all places in all times at the same level.”–GRI’m not contending that it is true for all people “at the same level.” I think we can allow for varying degrees of influence without throwing out the entire postulate.What think ye?BTW: You did mean “conscience” rather than “conscious” in your above statement, didn’t you?

  • gladerunner

    RCOFIELD:Better?

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