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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mailvox: still relevant

While I tend to largely forget about past books in favor of a) the most recent one, and, b) those I'm currently writing, it's nice to occasionally be reminded that people are still reading the older ones.  SA writes of his recent encounter with TIA:
Nietzsche's famous response to his critics was, "Swallow your poison; for you need it badly." There are realizations that begin by tasting a bit like poison, but end up being just the medicine we need. Vox Day's book is like that -- atheists will instinctively hate it at first, not just because of its content but also because of its ironic writing style. "Poison pen" it may sometimes be; but it's exactly the sort of "poison" they really need. As anyone who can think philosophically, or even anyone with an ounce of common sense knows, atheism is inherently irrational, since it depends on claiming certainty about a matter it obviously could never know for certain.

Day calls the atheist bluff. Teeing off on some of the chief proponents of irrational atheism today -- Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Onfray in particular -- the author debunks their empty rhetoric with the simplest of weapons: facts. Particularly good is the author's treatment of the old canard "religion causes wars," for which he provides so much counter-evidence that the reader is left wondering why anyone ever thinks such a thing is true. He simply takes the atheists at their word, and tests their claims against the available evidence.

In a way, it's unfortunate that Day resorts so often to the ironic tone, because opponents will be all too quick to jump on that stylistic feature and claim the author is a mere stylist without substance. That charge would be untrue, and a more calm tone might prevent that, showcasing the evidence rather than the rhetorical flourishes. However, flamboyancy and irony of tone have never stopped atheists from loving Nietzsche or uncritically embracing the random rhetoric of mere stylists like Harris or Dawkins, so their objections might be a trifle hypocritical.

On the good side, Day's book is immensely readable, and at times is simply laugh-out-loud entertaining. You can dash through it in a night, and indeed, it's hard to stop reading once you start. The central argument is not a scholarly approach so much as a popularly-accessible one; but that does not diminish the ultimate seriousness of the arguments advanced therein. Anyone who is already a theist, or anyone who is still seriously thinking about the atheism-theism debate can find in this book a helpful resource for casual debate. But the atheist "faithful" who have already closed their minds to the evidence may simply find it teeth-grindingly irritating.
It probably won't escape anyone's attention that the New Atheism is done, having mutated into helpless silence in the face of Islam on the one hand and A+ feminism on the other.  It's remarkable to see that women can even ruin atheism; it's a tactic that we theists should have utilized long ago.  After all, the sort of mind that is prone to atheism in the first place is going to be particular susceptible to cries of "sexism" and "racism", and there are few groups more male and white than a gathering of atheists.

SA's point that rhetorical flourishes can detract from the dialectic arguments is an accurate one, but the problem is that they are necessary for the majority who are not capable of following the dialectic arguments.  What TIA exposes, in crossing the rhetorical divide, is that there is very little but rhetoric in most of the New Atheist arguments, which is why a dispassionate dialectical critique would have been an error and left its atheist readers unmoved.  The venom and the spite with which so many atheist reviewers have responded to TIA over the years is proof of its effectiveness in that regard.

It's also good to see SA single out what has probably been the primary accomplishment of TIA, which was the conclusive debunking of the "religion causes war" line.  We've seen less and less of that ever since TIA came out, and the historical evidence has even begun to creep into scientific journals such as Nature.  While I have no doubt that the Left will do everything it can to be sure I am never credited with having successfully demolished that line of attack against religion in general and Christianity in particular, (it's amusing to see all the references to a $300 encyclopedia that it is perfectly clear no one has even seen, let alone read), I'm very pleased to see that mendacious, but rhetorically effective argument increasingly absent from the atheism-religion discourse.

And SA's email is a useful reminder that as long as atheists attempt to rely upon the arguments it criticizes, TIA will remain relevant.

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60 Comments:

Blogger Heuristics February 23, 2013 6:11 AM  

"and the historical evidence has even begun to creep into scientific journals such as Nature."

I find this interesting, is there an url?

Blogger Nate February 23, 2013 7:19 AM  

Encyclopedia of Wars...


Best 300 bucks you ever spent?

Anonymous JamesV February 23, 2013 7:20 AM  

I've used the arguments in TIA quite successfully in my debates with atheists. The most useful one for me has been the comparison between theistic and atheistic based rule specifically old Catholic dominated Europe with its inquisitions and new communist countries with their death camps and gulags.

I've yet had a person in an online debate be able to successfully counter these facts. If there are any replies at all they are usually snarky attempts to misdirect and discredit.

More often than not though I'm not trying to convince the ardent atheist who will likely never be swayed. Its the readers of the debate I'm trying to reach who can further disseminate the ideas or whose faith can be strengthened by them.

Anonymous Allabaster February 23, 2013 7:36 AM  

Nate, 300 bucks is second hand 1911 money, we all know where your money would fall if both were side by side.

BTW Vox, maybe pass some new questions onto Sam, a slightly veiled taunt to the New Atheisms complete failure.

Sort of like Mr. Delingpole's dance up on gave of the global warming scare.

You owe it to yourself.

Anonymous trk February 23, 2013 7:49 AM  

Its true, I havent heard a peep about religion causing wars..and I do chuckle when I come across an article siting 'hard proof that religion is not the cause of war' and they point to EoW.

Do you think that New Atheisism is decling also to fact that it really needs a sound economy to flourish? During hard times people usually turn to religion

Anonymous VD February 23, 2013 8:07 AM  

I do chuckle when I come across an article siting 'hard proof that religion is not the cause of war' and they point to EoW.

It's always easy to know where they actually got the information from. EoW never makes that argument, indeed, it says almost exactly the opposite in the introduction despite what the data itself indicates. More importantly, it never provides a number....

And yes, I not only agree that there is a connection between the economy and the decline of New Atheism, you may recall that I predicted it on that basis. Of course, Christopher Hitchens's death and the increased Islamification of London haven't exactly helped. I think Dawkins is gradually coming to rue the significant role he has played in setting the stage for terrible religious conflict in the UK.

Blogger LP 999/Eliza February 23, 2013 8:08 AM  

It should be noted that it didn't take Vox a trip in a fancy seminary or a theology degree to pen something that is obviously and vastly superior to most books on the topic in our modern era.

Blogger Lovekraft February 23, 2013 8:18 AM  

The elephant in the room is monotheism, which tends to breed its opposite: moral relativism. This dynamic continues to divide and create walls. Most rational thinkers, however, would quickly ascertain that these people, although vast in numbers and wielding considerable power, are worthy of contempt.

So where does that leave those who follow (or try to) Christ's teachings? To see progressives co-opt his message of brotherly love to justify homosexuality and other perversions is sad. To watch Islam push his followers into misery is also disheartening.

But which is worse: abandoning Jesus Christ because of how his message has been distorted, or following Him and suffering in His name?

As for Islam and multicult, the polar opposites, I can only say that their records of intolerance has become common knowledge.

Anonymous harry12 February 23, 2013 8:56 AM  

Lovekraft February 23, 2013 8:18 AM
The elephant in the room is monotheism, which tends to breed its opposite: moral relativism.


Indeed! One very big elephant.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera February 23, 2013 8:58 AM  

It's remarkable to see that women can even ruin atheism; it's a tactic that we theists should have utilized long ago.

Still a lot of problems in the world. Maybe we can convince New York and Hollywood to flood the culture with strong, independent women who use food as a weapon better than any male tyrant ever did.

Though Mao was skeptical at first, she wins him over in the end by surpassing even his bodycount.

"I can think of another use for your torture chambers," he grins and opens his hand to reveal a ball gag. Her heart stops. Her inner goddess begs for...

This is getting pretty hot. Maybe I'll write it for real.

Anonymous Krul February 23, 2013 9:30 AM  

Lovekraft-But which is worse: abandoning Jesus Christ because of how his message has been distorted, or following Him and suffering in His name?

Considering that Christ specifically called the faithful to suffer in His name, I think it's perfectly obvious which is worse.

Moreover, Christ's teachings aren't nearly as important as Christ Himself. He isn't Moses or Confucius, after all. While obedience is required of us, when you get down to it the Good News isn't what we do for Him, it's what He did for us.

Anonymous VD February 23, 2013 9:38 AM  

Best 300 bucks you ever spent?

No, I wouldn't go that far. But it saved me a lot of work. Remember, I'd already figured everything out and publicly made the case, the encyclopedia simply saved me a ton of work and lent the statement the perceived authority of academia. It didn't really matter if I compiled the list or if someone else did, the facts are what they are.

But it looked a lot more authoritative to be able to refer to an encyclopedia put together by nine academic experts on military history. To be honest, I find the near-total lack of reference to religion in every single work written by military strategists from Sun Tzu to George Patton to be the more convincing argument. But that is an abstract case well beyond the capabilities of most interested in the topic, who wouldn't know the difference between the Strategikon and Stratego.

Blogger WATYF February 23, 2013 10:20 AM  

I've seen the EoW reference made by other people in online debates and discussions before. I think it's fairly widespread. Not ubiquitous, by any means, but I think there are enough people out there who know it that the "religion causes war" argument is more likely to fail than succeed.

WATYF

Anonymous VD February 23, 2013 10:37 AM  

Actual EoW statement concerning war and religion:

"Wars have always arisen, and arise today, from territorial disputes, military rivalries, conflicts of ethnicity, and strivings for economic and commercial advantage, and they have always depended upon, and depend on today, pride, prejudice, coercion, envy, cupidity, competitiveness, and a sense of injustice. But for much of the world before the 17th century, these "reasons" for war were explained and justified, at least for the participants, by religion. Then, around the middle of the 17th century, Europeans began to conceive of war as a legitimate means of furthering the interests of individual sovereigns."

So it is more than a little ironic that so many people use my argument and attribute it to EoW, given that Phillips and Axelrod were still erroneously trying to blame religion for explaining and justifying the real reasons for the wars listed in their Encylopedia. It's simply not true that Caesar was using religion to justify the invasion of Gaul or the Athenians appealed to it in order to attack Syracuse.

But, as I said, virtually no one who cites EoW in this context has ever even seen it.

Anonymous bob k. mando February 23, 2013 10:54 AM  

Lovekraft February 23, 2013 8:18 AM
The elephant in the room is monotheism, which tends to breed its opposite: moral relativism.




an amusing assertion. bald, unsupported and poorly defined. and you call yourself rational?

what do you mean by 'monotheism'? trinitarians are usually characterized as 'polytheists' by hard monotheists such as non-trinitarian Christian denominations, Islam and Judaism. otoh, the vast majority of Christians subscribe to one or another trinitarian theology. by your 'reasoning', moral relativism could hardly have originated within the extant Christian societies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Trinitarian#Modern_Christians

another point against this: Islam is one of the most inflexible ( and most successful ) of the 'hard monotheisms'. how much 'moral relativism' has been generated in Islamic cultures over the last 1000 years?



Lovekraft February 23, 2013 8:18 AM
But which is worse: abandoning Jesus Christ because of how his message has been distorted, or following Him and suffering in His name?



i guess this is our answer; that you are no Christian at all. you would reject Christ for some perceived moral relativism, you don't even need a physical threat? you are looking for an excuse not to believe. and so long as you seek an excuse, you will find ( manufacture ) one.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010:21,22,39;16:25;23:34,35;24:9;&version=KJV

we are called to stand for the Word under threat of death.

believe or do not, that is between you and God. the actions or inactions of fallen men have nothing to do with your lack of faith.

Anonymous GreyS February 23, 2013 1:04 PM  

"I've used the arguments in TIA quite successfully in my debates with atheists. The most useful one for me has been the comparison between theistic and atheistic based rule specifically old Catholic dominated Europe with its inquisitions and new communist countries with their death camps and gulags.

I've yet had a person in an online debate be able to successfully counter these facts. If there are any replies at all they are usually snarky attempts to misdirect and discredit.

More often than not though I'm not trying to convince the ardent atheist who will likely never be swayed. Its the readers of the debate I'm trying to reach who can further disseminate the ideas or whose faith can be strengthened by them."


Same here, James. I've used VD's book as a reference numerous times to great aspieatheist-stopping success. Some will go beyond the insults and avoidance techniques and show a bit of actual interest in the topic-- these I will tell about TIA directly. I also spread the word about TIA to fellow Christians-- in particular linking them to Amazon where the chances of an impulse purchase of the book are higher.

"So it is more than a little ironic that so many people use my argument and attribute it to EoW [...]virtually no one who cites EoW in this context has ever even seen it."

--chuckle-- I've referenced EoW for these facts in arguments many times before giving out the TIA name, because once I found that it costs $300 and it wasn't available online anywhere it quickly became apparent that the simple reference to EoW drove atheists crazy. Once you give out the VD/TIA name they quickly google you and come back with all sorts of vitriol and cussing.

Blogger RobertT February 23, 2013 1:30 PM  

"the old canard 'religion causes wars,'"

I bought the paperbook. Then I bought the Kindle. I always thought I should read it, but because I thought it was some kind of book review, I never got desperate enough to actually read it. This review paints a different picture that piques my interest. Now I will read it and surely be justly reprimanded for my knee jerk reaction to a comment you once made.

Blogger Longstreet February 23, 2013 1:49 PM  

When I acquire a new computer, phone or e-reader/tablet and start putting all my stuff on it, the first four books that get loaded, without exception, are

1) some form of eBible
2) The Irrational Atheist"
3) David Berlinski's "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and It's Scientific Pretensions", and
4) David Bentley Hart's "Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and It's Fashionable Enemies".

Though all three books are 3-4 years old, Day, Berlinski and Hart take the notion that atheism is the more rational and "scientific" position and burn it to the ground. Then plow the ashes into the dirt. I've recommended to others those 3 works more times than I can count.

Anonymous Peter Garstig February 23, 2013 1:50 PM  

Aaah Vox, don't remind me that I have unfinished work. Gotta get that translation going again one day.

Anonymous DonReynolds February 23, 2013 1:51 PM  

All medicine IS poison. Yes, its beneficial properties lies in adjusting the dosage. In terms of toxicity, aspirin is roughly as toxic as plutonium and was for a long time the suicide drug of choice for women.

Blogger foxmarks February 23, 2013 2:29 PM  

To see progressives co-opt his message of brotherly love to justify homosexuality and other perversions is sad.

This is one of the best things I have learned since I started coming here. And also one I sometimes wish I could unlearn. The blue pill with the label "God is Love" would make living in the Progressive heartland so much easier.

Anonymous Anonymous February 23, 2013 2:53 PM  

Bob K. Mando:
"Islam is one of the most inflexible ( and most successful ) of the 'hard monotheisms'. how much 'moral relativism' has been generated in Islamic cultures over the last 1000 years?"

Quite a lot, actually; I say this as one who's lived 11 years in 2 Muslim-majority countries, and once was the leader of a team of church planters & evangelists working among Muslims.

Legalism pops up in both Christian and non-Christian religious circles. There are historical records, in both poetry & prose, describing and even celebrating same-sex behavior in Muslim communities going back centuries, even though it is officially condemned even more strongly in Islam than in Judaism & Christianity. Lots of Muslims get drunk and justify it by saying that while the Q'uran & Hadith both oppose drunkenness, they only specifically mention "the fruit of the vine" and so turn a blind eye towards gin, vodka, etc. I personally knew many who ate pork, although I was never able to discover the explanation for that (other than cognitive dissonance). Also, since Islam is a religion based on works, you can overcome your deficits by approved behavior (e.g. the 19 who commandeered the planes on 9/11 spent their last few days on earth at strip clubs, drinking, etc. in faith that their jhiad more than made up for their sins).

Anonymous bob k. mando February 23, 2013 3:26 PM  

'Legalism' is NOT moral relativism and is, in fact, almost the diametric opposite.

Legalism still makes appeals to an absolute authority. they may pervert and torture the plain meaning of the text BUT THEY ARE STILL APPEALING TO THE TEXT.

moral relativism says that no absolute authority exists. this is usually followed by immediate appeals to the 'wisdom' of the crowd.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/relativism?s=t

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism



further, 'Legalism' has NOTHING to do with whether or not a society is monotheistic, polytheistic or animist.

Blogger Lovekraft February 23, 2013 5:09 PM  

@ B. Mando.

How, based on what I wrote, can you make any of your assertions? Do you even know the point I was trying to make? Based on a few keystrokes I made, you are able to make such conclusions. Wow.

My point: our culture has turned away from the teachings of Christ, has warped Judeo-Christian principles, has embraced vulgarity and moral relativism.

Where have you been for the past thirty-odd years?

The question I have is, what is your position regarding monotheism and socialism's position today in the world, and their related power?

Blogger Lud VanB February 23, 2013 6:00 PM  

"moral relativism says that no absolute authority exists. this is usually followed by immediate appeals to the 'wisdom' of the crowd."


i would say its a little more complicated than that.we "moral relativists" simply recognize the shallowness of appealing to a universal moral giving agency to confirm and reinforce your own aquired moral dispositions because both the existence AND the moral opinions of this universal agency are an objective unknown if not an outright objective unknowable.

Anonymous bob k. mando February 23, 2013 6:05 PM  

Lovekraft February 23, 2013 5:09 PM
My point: our culture has turned away from the teachings of Christ, has warped Judeo-Christian principles, has embraced vulgarity and moral relativism.



and these things have nothing to do with 'monotheism' nor do i dispute any of them. this is not the first non-Christian society within which Christians have resided and been persecuted and, if the Lord tarries, it will NOT be the last.

did you forget who has authority in this world, who the Prince of the Power of the Air is?
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+2:2&version=KJV



Lovekraft February 23, 2013 5:09 PM
The question I have is, what is your position regarding monotheism and socialism's position today in the world, and their related power?



another non sequitur.

the 'power' of the Christian is:
a - in the hands of God
b - not material in nature
c - prophesied to suffer MUCH greater persecution than anything the namby-pamby luke warm Laodiceans have yet seen.

you complain about the persecution of believers under Islam, where were you for the persecution of Christians in the USSR? in China today?


Lovekraft February 23, 2013 5:09 PM
How, based on what I wrote, can you make any of your assertions?


do you or do you not understand what a bald assertion is? because that is what the first paragraph of your first post does. an unsupported assertion which appears to be extremely sloppy with it's terminology.

this is what i've been pointing out to you. Judaism, Islam and some Christian denominations consider mainstream Christianity to be polytheistic.

yet, moral relativism has been adopted by cultures which were formerly mainstream ( trinitarian ) Christianity.

Islam and Judaism have NOT adopted relativism, they have Legalism. do you grasp the difference? if so, how do you justify the FACT that two religions which are MORE hardline monotheist than Christianity have NOT given rise to relativism? this demonstrates that your original assertion was false on it's face.



as for what truly offended you, my pointing out that you are looking for an excuse: you are.

don't blame the failures of others, others who in many cases are not even Christians, as being a stumbling block to your 'faith'. it has as little to do with your faith ( or lack thereof ) as Jimmy Swaggart hiring a prostitute.

Anonymous Mudz February 23, 2013 6:25 PM  

@ Lud

Are you still trying the 'God's unknowable morality' tack?

I don't think the books in the Old Testament has changed in the last 3500 years. And the New Testament has stayed in pretty much the same form for almost 2000 years. For the length of their existence. The morals communicated in the bible have not changed.

Since no-one has the right to alter the bible, or it's message, save for God, then the morals and principles set forth in it are authoritatively fixed, unless God changes them which presupposes His existence, making your argument moot anyway.

We 'acquired' our moral dispositions from the bible. Your argument makes little sense for a Christian.

Even if God didn't exist, because the bible is inviolate to committed Christians, our morals, or the basis of our morals, are fixed, making them absolute reference points. We can know when we're messing up due to this fixed, external, objective source (it literally is an object), beyond relying on our own self-serving notions of on-the-spot moralising, that can serve Nazis and Aztecs just as well as atheists or whatever else.

Anonymous Mudz February 23, 2013 6:34 PM  

Actually, my post was unnecessary. Bob put it quite well.

Blogger Lud VanB February 23, 2013 6:52 PM  

"I don't think the books in the Old Testament has changed in the last 3500 years. And the New Testament has stayed in pretty much the same form for almost 2000 years. For the length of their existence. The morals communicated in the bible have not changed."


And i dont think that you have come anywhere near demonstrating that you have any objective knowledge concerning the truth of those statements. the oldest known hebrew biblical text is the Septuagint and its just a fragment from 200 BC at most...that still leave you 1300 years that are unaccounted for the whole old testament. after the you have the dead sea scrolls from 100-55 BC which again are only fragments. As for the new testaments, the oldest text know to exist is the Codex Sinaiticus, from 1600 years ago and there has been many translation since then where the text has been altered to various degrees. Hardly the picture of tri-millenial textual stability that you were trying to portray. and we havent even touched upon the completely blind assumption that any of those texts were dictated to humans by God.

Blogger Lovekraft February 23, 2013 7:13 PM  

@ Mando.

My point, again, is that you are exhibiting the type of moral high-ground posturing that I claim is the modus operandi of Monotheists (primarily Islamists), and socialists.

I never claimed to be a Perfect Christian. That doesn't exclude me from making criticisms of our culture, because if that is the case (that only pure Christians are allowed a voice), then there would be no point in debate, would there?

Because Christ was the ultimate critic, I believe he would rather we point out error (but in the right way - not condescending, using words instead of violence, being humble).

Now, if we are going to start debating Jesus's teachings, this should be left rather to an entirely different thread because Vox is pointing out how atheists need to be held to task for falsely associating war with religion. My position is that war in which religion is used as a justification usually comes from monotheists (again, primarily Islam).

Anonymous Mudz February 23, 2013 7:35 PM  

@ Lud

Even if you could demonstrate the bible has changed in any way to alter it's teachings on morality (the burden of proof being on you by the way), it would make no difference. Our morality would not be based on our own whim, as you argued, it is still based on the bible, which no-one is given the authority to alter. If someone actually did, hypothetically changing the moral references, it still doesn't change our relationship with the bible.

And let's take your statement at face value. Then you admit that the text has been consistent, to the extent that translation has allowed, for 1600 & 2200 years. I don't know why you thought that 2000 or so years would be significantly different for my argument than 3500.

And if the text of the New Testament has been altered, and I believe some parts are insertions, that does not alter the argument.

For one thing, the 'alterations' that we suspect, are questions of theology, specifically Trinitarianism, not our moral obligations.

For another, if they're confirmed to be alterations, then we do not consider them legitimate do we?

And I told you already, for the purpose of this argument, the existence of God is irrelevant to the religious behaviour of Christians. The fact is, we believe it is the word of God, and thus it has the power of the word of God to us. The authority we 'imbue' it with, is exactly the same.

Whether God exists, or is moral, or objective, are questions of ultimate morality, not religious behaviour or our 'system' of morality.

Anonymous Mudz February 23, 2013 7:58 PM  

@ VD

On a more on-topic note:

That actually kind of annoys me. If they're getting their info from you/your book, they should cite you. It's great that you're putting the situation at large, first, but still, it's a pretty dick move on their part, and you should hash them out for it. Though, if it's the case, then the reasons why are obvious.

Why are atheists so generally gutless? We happily read their books, yet most of the atheist reviewers of your book, as I think you've pointed out, seem to flee within three chapters.

I couldn't believe that they complained about being 'offended' by your book, despite all their strenuous efforts to be 'open-minded'. Atheists even complain that I 'invade' their forums discussing Christianity, like it's sacrilege to make them listen to arguments. Or they just hit the dislike button without actually responding.

The most comprehensive and relevant one I have found so far is the Arizona Atheist, which I've only read some of so far, but have so far found fairly weak. The first thing I looked at was her(?) argument against the religious crime statistic, making her case that religion-related crime statistics of roughly 17% as opposed to race-related statistic of 54% making it the second highest out of three choices, was damning stuff.

(Well, maybe five, if you really count both anti-disability and multiple-bias.)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-SR6JTBhPDA8/TWVIZlq1NfI/AAAAAAAAChc/pUCc9rmFS9I/s1600/www2.fbi.gov%2Bscreen%2Bcapture%2B2011-1-27-10-48-18.jpg

I don't feel it's even necessary to explicate all the ways in which I found her argument meaningless, and as far as I can tell, happily ignorant of the argument Harris was putting forth, just in the segment you quoted in the following chapter.

For one thing, the graph only shows targets, not source, so her particular train of logic was not very stable.

Even if we assume that all the incidents of violence, that she demanded be the only point of interest, were instigated by religious folk, that's about 110 cases of religious violence as compared to about 1500 cases of race violence. That's like what, 6.5% out of just those two statistics?

And there was literally no cases of violence against atheists or agnostic. The worst seemed to be 1 single case of intimdation, out of 5 total crimes.

So worst case scenario, this means that religious folk get into a few fistfights, and atheists are the safest group in the world, and that it sucks to be a some sort of ethnicity. Mostly black.

Worst case scenario for atheists, they committed all but 5 crimes. I mean who knows, with all that relative morality? :P

I'll have to go through the whole thing at some point, but it's not impressive so far.

Of all the objections I've ever heard on your book, the only one I've found compelling so far, is that 'non-religious' doesn't mean atheist or agnostic. I would agree with that, so I'll have to read your book again, just in case I missed something.


The more people given reason to read TIA, and are forced to pay attention to the opposition, the better. Good job, bud. I give you my honourable permission to challenge the very next journal using your work, and try to pin them down to an admission. It would be a benefit to Christian representation in general, anyway.

Anonymous Mudz February 23, 2013 8:05 PM  

Actually I was wrong on one half of the argument. You could hypothetically add the roughly 450 cases of anti-homosexual violence, to religion.

That does change the statistic to more like 30%. Still not very dominant, but of significance. Assuming the worst case scenario from these statistics.

Blogger Lud VanB February 23, 2013 8:14 PM  

"Even if you could demonstrate the bible has changed in any way to alter it's teachings on morality (the burden of proof being on you by the way), it would make no difference. Our morality would not be based on our own whim, as you argued, it is still based on the bible, which no-one is given the authority to alter. If someone actually did, hypothetically changing the moral references, it still doesn't change our relationship with the bible."


actually, if you cared about being logically consistent, demonstrable alterations to the bible should cause your relationship to the bible to change accordingly. The fact that you have just declared that it would not suggests that you do not care about objective truth. and since it was you who also declared that the old testament had existed in its current form for 35 centuries and the new testament for 20 centuries without producing either complete documents of those respective ages, i m afraid the burden of proof still very much lies on your shoulders...see i merely questionned your claims of personal objective knowledge in this matter and so far, i ve not been proven wrong.


"And let's take your statement at face value. Then you admit that the text has been consistent, to the extent that translation has allowed, for 1600 & 2200 years. I don't know why you thought that 2000 or so years would be significantly different for my argument than 3500."


again, both old testaments documents i mentionned were just fragments and not complete texts. and yes i do find a difference of 1300 years to be a significant amount of time, as should anyone interested in the truth.


"And if the text of the New Testament has been altered, and I believe some parts are insertions, that does not alter the argument."


it does because the autority of the bible rests of its proponent's claims that it is the unalterable word of God,himself the purported unalterable universal source of all things moral. even a displaced comma in such a text completely destroys the claim of divine (perfect) authority.


"And I told you already, for the purpose of this argument, the existence of God is irrelevant to the religious behaviour of Christians. The fact is, we believe it is the word of God, and thus it has the power of the word of God to us. The authority we 'imbue' it with, is exactly the same."


and as i allready told you, the divine authority you imbue to your religious texts is a cloak that both fabricate and drape over your allready existing code of moral behaviour the vaunted title of ebing THE right way to behave in all things. and as such it is no different than any other such man made cloaks of conveniant self righteousness.


"Whether God exists, or is moral, or objective, are questions of ultimate morality, not religious behaviour or our 'system' of morality."

Whether God exists, or is moral, or objective, and whether or not you can demonstrate objective knowledge of any of these is inextricably contingent to your credibility in declaring that your guiding morals are not relativistic.

Anonymous Mudz February 23, 2013 8:34 PM  

@ Lud

My claims of 'personal objective knowledge' are completely irrelevant in this argument. I do not have personal objective knowledge, because that makes no damn sense. That's subjective knowledge.

We are arguing about religious behaviour, our source of morality.

And no, it doesn't make a whit of difference. I think the books of the bible have been conserved for the length of time I stated. You say that you can confirm only so many centuries of that. That's fine. All that means is you can't personally confirm their longevity, but you have no evidence to suggest any alteration in the previous 1300 years of the Old Testament, for example.

Our ultimate source is God, and the bible is our perceived communication from God, as well as historical record about him and related events.

1300 years is a significant amount time. And? That means what in your argument? Is this an appeal to ignorance?


Divine authority is far, far different than human authority. Even if we assume, that all you say is actually true, and not something you pulled out of your butt, that's makes all the difference there, for this discussion.

You seem to be confused as to what the argument is. You seem to think we're still talking about cosmic truth, whereas I'm simply evaluating your claim about the parallel moral systems we share. We do not.

Arguments about biblical accuracy, or the existence of God, is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, we draw upon a fixed source for our morality. One that you have no evidence to even assume has changed in any length of time, save your own imagination.

You draw upon personal opinion, which means zero external reference for morality. There is nothing to make you behave morally, if you don't yourself think it's moral.

We are comparing systems, not ultimate truth. And yours is useless as a system, because there are no laws, save personal interest.

Our morals (or apprehension of morals) are relative, only in the sense that they are related to the bible. They are not relative in the sense of 'anything goes' or just 'personal evaluation'.

We've debated the whole subject of the ultimate warrants and objectivity before, and both times that I think we did so, and you seem to simply go away for a time, until you've recovered again to repeat everything you said the first time.

Are you simply trying to win through endurance? I can promise you I very much enjoy writing lengthy, lengthy posts, interminably. It's wasting your time, and filling mine, for you to adopt such a dishonest methodology.
It seems apparent that your love of 'relativity' also allows you to adapt any reality to your whim. Otherwise, you should have conceded a loss by now, to be frank.

Anonymous Mudz February 23, 2013 8:44 PM  

And my 'relationship' with the bible does not change, if I think portions of it have been altered or inserted. That means I dismiss the alterations, as not being genuine scripture.

And what my relationship with the bible means more specifically, is that I regard it as history, and it records the word of God. My reliance on the bible is contingent upon it's accuracy, yes, obviously. But the nature of the relationship never changes.

It is an entirely consistent system.

Blogger Lud VanB February 24, 2013 4:20 AM  

Again, you are missing the point. I don't have to show evidence that the old testament has changed over the last 3500 years because as I ve already demonstrated, there's no concrete evidence that the old testament has existed longuer than 2200 years in ANY form, changed or unchanged. add to this the complete absence of any evidence that the bible had any source of origin outside the human race...add to this the fact that Christians today essentially make a cafeteria selection of which biblical teachings they will follow and which they ignore and your claims of being part of a tradition of unchanged moral rectitude handed down to humans by the creator of the universe over 3500 years ago obviously falls to pieces upon even the mildest of cursory examination. There is also the matter of the bibles very relativistic moral stance on the question of murder, forbidding it completely in one passage and then celebrating it a mere few chapters later. As for you re being consistent in your argumentation, how do you square that with the fact that you began by claiming that the old testament had remained unchanged for 3500 years as evidence of your cult's fixed morality only to suddently dismiss the importance of biblical accuracy when shown that this is far from being the case?

Anonymous GHS February 24, 2013 5:35 AM  

>evidence
http://voxday.blogspot.it/2007/12/on-evidence-dialogue.html

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 6:03 AM  

@ Lud

No, your still not getting it. Whether it is the word of God has absolutely nothing to do with how we use it. It doesn't matter whether the law is right, wrong, logical, stupid, or fifty other qualifications. If it says 'Do not Murder', then any Christian would have to justify why he just shot Bilbo. And guess what we'd refer to to figure out if what he did was right in the eyes of God? The bible.

And you obviously don't understand the difference between 'murder' and 'kill' and the fact that this is translated from ancient Hebrew with multiple distinct variations on words like these. What kind of idiot would write that all-important passage and then forget about it two chapters or whatever, on? Take this seriously, Lud.

A) You have not shown it to be the case that the bible has suffered changes. I was the one to suggest that, and explained what that means. Additions and changes to the word, does not change history.

B) My argument was not that the bible is unchanged, but that the morals are changed. Obviously the bible is translated from ancient Hebrew. What does that mean? Nothing. It's still our reference. The bible is still authoritative . If we find, say that the passage about baptising in the name of the Trinity is a Catholic addition, then Catholics have to defend themselves. They have to argue that no, it's a genuine part of the bible.

And that's the very worst. Theological accuracy. Which has nothing to do with moral law.

You haven't taken the time to understand the argument. I'm not talking about how believing in God makes my moral system better than yours. I'm saying the fact that every Christian worth the name has to justify their moral decisions by the bible.

It's a common, objective reference. It applies to every Christian equally without exception, and there is only one moral system. This makes it a superior system.

We are accountable to something outside ourselves.

And puh-lease. Your 'cursory examination' yielded no results, except that you conveyed to me you can't even distinguish between two very basic criminal concepts.

Prove to me that the morality communicated in the Old Testament is any different now than it was 3500 years old when it was first penned? Otherwise, think before you lead with your reflexes.

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 6:07 AM  

Or prove to me that's it's different in substance than it was 2200 years old. It makes no nevermind how old you think it is. The age of the bible or the Old Testament is not at issue.

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 6:11 AM  

*that the morals are unchanged.

Blogger Lud VanB February 24, 2013 3:27 PM  

"No, your still not getting it. Whether it is the word of God has absolutely nothing to do with how we use it. It doesn't matter whether the law is right, wrong, logical, stupid, or fifty other qualifications. If it says 'Do not Murder', then any Christian would have to justify why he just shot Bilbo. And guess what we'd refer to to figure out if what he did was right in the eyes of God? The bible."

actually, it would be every bit as easy for a christian to justify the shooting of Bilbo as it would be for another christian to condemn it since it would be a mere question of interpretting this or that passage in the bible. And since interpretations have been know to vary, sometimes wildly , from one sect of christianity to the next...hell from one church to the next in the same damn sect sometimes...well you get the idea. Christian morality are no more fixed or unalterable than anyone elses.


"And you obviously don't understand the difference between 'murder' and 'kill' and the fact that this is translated from ancient Hebrew with multiple distinct variations on words like these. What kind of idiot would write that all-important passage and then forget about it two chapters or whatever, on? Take this seriously, Lud."


I understand that the deliberate and calculated killing of non-combatants newborns hiding along with their mothers away from a battlefield, as is customary of mothers and their newborns to do, falls squarely inside the definition of murder according to every canon of law known to man...including your bible.


"A) You have not shown it to be the case that the bible has suffered changes. I was the one to suggest that, and explained what that means. Additions and changes to the word, does not change history"


i dont have to show any such thing for the simple reason that your claim that the old testament has remained as is for the past 3500 or even 2200 years is not an established fact. And to make sure that you dont go on repeating the same nonsense again, let me explain what this means. It means that in order to factually declare that the old testament has not changed over 3500 or 2200 years, you need to produce a COMPLETE copy of the text in question from either period and demonstrate by comparaison to a modern copy that it has in fact remained unchanged. And since you have repeatadly failed to do so, my original objection, which read as "And i dont think that you have come anywhere near demonstrating that you have any objective knowledge concerning the truth of those statements." remains very much unchallenged.


"B) My argument was not that the bible is unchanged, but that the morals are changed. Obviously the bible is translated from ancient Hebrew. What does that mean? Nothing. It's still our reference. The bible is still authoritative . If we find, say that the passage about baptising in the name of the Trinity is a Catholic addition, then Catholics have to defend themselves. They have to argue that no, it's a genuine part of the bible."


and my answer to this remains that since you cannot show that the bible has remained unchanged, you cannot factually declare that the morals contained in it have remained unchanged.


"You haven't taken the time to understand the argument..."


since the rest of your post is basically a rehashing of your first paragraph, i ll refer you back to the first paragraph of my response to it.

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 7:12 PM  

@Lud

actually, it would be every bit as easy for a christian to justify the shooting of Bilbo as it would be for another christian to condemn it since it would be a mere question of interpretting this or that passage in the bible. And since interpretations have been know to vary, sometimes wildly , from one sect of christianity to the next...hell from one church to the next in the same damn sect sometimes...well you get the idea. Christian morality are no more fixed or unalterable than anyone elses.

That's the precise point. We would have to interpret it from the bible. We have to appeal to the law. The fact that some people are clever or dishonest lawyers is irrelevant. A morality that appeals to a fixed law is the opposite of a man who appeals to his own feelings.


I must have failed to articulate the situation clearly enough, perhaps I've complicated it too much, so let me try to restructure the argument more simply.

1) The age of the bible has no bearing on that fact that it is, external, objective, and a common reference. We all appeal to the bible. It could be 10 years old, and the effect is the same. The type of the moral system is unaffected by how long it's been around. The ancient Israelites had to appeal to the word in the same way we do.

The age of the bible is relevant only in telling you that we've had this system for a very long time.

The bible being different, if we assumed that it was different in substance would mean that the Law has become different. But it does not change that we still derive morality from the Law. For example, a Democracy is still a Democracy when you introduce new bills or pass new laws.

Those are the relevant points of the argument. Now I shall go over and explain why the rest is irrelevant and why I am not concentrating on defending them:

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 7:12 PM  

2B) For example, you've actually made a good point about God's commandment to clear out the land. And why do I consider it a good point? Because it's based on the bible, not because I personally like/dislike murder, death, genocide or conquering foreign lands.

And you are corerct, independently and arbitrarily killing a man, woman or child would be a murder. But that's not what happened. It was a national action of war, warranted, in fact, commanded, by God. Brutal as hell, but distinct from an act of murder.

And we in fact here, bringing God as the source authority into the argument, which changes the landscape of the argument, although I went over it in a cursory fashion in a previous post. The bible is our reference, but God's authority is paramount. The authority of the bible derives from it's communication of God's word. God is the only authority who can legally 'modify' the Law, and He is the ultimate source of our morality.

But that may distract or confuse the current argument, because this requires that you accept God's existence for the sake of the argument, which would not help you in the least.

3) Now, I believe that the bible has been consistent, and nothing you have shown me has indicated otherwise. The only passages, which are in the new Testament, that could conceivably be the result of tampering, I am aware of, are one or two scriptures related to the Trinity, and they are treated accordingly.

No morality or Christian obligation has changed, only possibly the exact relationship between God, Jesus and holy spirit, which is pure theology, and has no bearing on moral law.

So trying to argue on the grounds of ignorance is pointless, it doesn't mean anything, because it is not the substance of this argument. I am comparing immediate, contemporary moral systems, not their historical veracity.

The bible being consistent for the length of it's lifetime is relevant only in establishing that the law has never changed, which to assert accuracy. That does not change the system, or this argument.

There is one way, and one way only, that this argument would have traction, and that is that there are different biblical translations in existence right now. But these bibles are still simply translations so it too, does not change the nature of authority. It just means that we would all have to argue the ancient Hebrew, or Greek, when debating tricky bits of scripture.

4) Debating the bible doesn't mean anything, Lud. That's what I think someone else called 'Legalism'. Debating the bible is what we've always done, and expect to do. When Christians debate, it's about scriptural interpretation, not moral interpretation, but how to read the bible to ascertain morality.

5) That there are 'liberal' Christians is really just a way of saying 'not really Christian at all'. They are ignorantly violating the law, but even they try and justify themselves against the bible, in the same way that Americans have to justify breaking the Constitution. They just can't, really.

6) Even if we accepted, for the sake of agrument, that there are 'liberal Christians' and 'biblical Christians', then all that would happen in this argument is that we'd be comparing your moral relativity against the moral system of biblical Christians.

Christians that adopt a different moral system, even if you want to argue they're still Christian in a nominal sense, would mean they're part of a different moral system and thus are not in this comparison. Biblical Christians dislike their morality too.

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 7:13 PM  

and my answer to this remains that since you cannot show that the bible has remained unchanged, you cannot factually declare that the morals contained in it have remained unchanged.

Yes, I can see that. And I've tried to explain why that's irrelevant. And that's not the rule of history. There are many historical entities who's original work we no longer have or know, but we know their work simply because of the references made by other people's work.

The fact that we can't time-travel a get a mint condition 1st Edition Torah, is irrelevant. You have to demonstrate that it has been altered, or else we assume that it is a copy of the original work. You need to provide evidence to show that it has been altered, or that their is a reason to suppose scribes could get away with mis-copying or altering sacred scripture without the other scribes, the priests, or the entire nation noticing.

7) The authorship of the bible is also irrelevant, to this comparison. That's only useful for determining whether Christians should adopt this biblical moral system. We already have, and we're comparing it against moral relativism.

I cannot absolutely declare that the bible is unchanged. I can only declare my judgment that that is the most certain answer.

This point, even supposing that you were right, is still irrelevant.

"and my answer to this remains that since you cannot show that the bible has remained unchanged, you cannot factually declare that the morals contained in it have remained unchanged."

8) As I mentioned before, that's actually irrelevant to the argument, and your argument is backwards in any case.

since the rest of your post is basically a rehashing of your first paragraph, i ll refer you back to the first paragraph of my response to it.

Because I am attempting to make the points I first iterated, clear to you. So far I have been unsuccessful.

Do you understand the difference between being bound by a legal system, and being bound by nothing at all?

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 7:20 PM  

@ Lud

Sorry, those first points should actually be filed under 'why these are irrelevant'.

The points of my argument are:

1) The bible is an objective, common moral reference. it is the final appeal, the legal code, the transmission of all the values Christians must justify or argue their actions by.

2) Deriving morality from the bible is a distinct and superior moral system to moral relativism.

3) That's it.

Anonymous Mudz February 24, 2013 7:26 PM  

This is not a 'Christian' defense, but a secular comparison.

Blogger Lud VanB February 24, 2013 10:40 PM  

"That's the precise point. We would have to interpret it from the bible. We have to appeal to the law. The fact that some people are clever or dishonest lawyers is irrelevant. A morality that appeals to a fixed law is the opposite of a man who appeals to his own feelings."

a morality that appeals to passages that can be interpreted in anyway you want to is not any more fixed than one that appeals to human emotions. the difference being here that i recognize the short commings of my morality wheras you are wearing blinders of self righteousness hiding the short commings of yours.


"For example, you've actually made a good point about God's commandment to clear out the land. And why do I consider it a good point? Because it's based on the bible, not because I personally like/dislike murder, death, genocide or conquering foreign lands."


the same humans who butchered the people of Cannan in the bible are the ones who wrote that bible as along with its claims that the massacres they commited were God ordained...how conveniant.


"And you are corerct, independently and arbitrarily killing a man, woman or child would be a murder. But that's not what happened. It was a national action of war, warranted, in fact, commanded, by God. Brutal as hell, but distinct from an act of murder."


the Joshua "campains" if they could even be called that were not acts of war. Their scriptural description more closely ressemble the story of a horde of rampaging barbarians descending upon an unsuspecting population to murder them to the last child and plunder the land for themselves. That they also happened to be as self righteous as you are in their feeling the need to invent some kind of divine dispensations to justify their attrocities doesnt change the complete moral bankruptcy of those actions one bit. in fact, it makes them worse for being hypocrits. In that they were no different then any other group of humans invading the lands of their fellow creatures across the world...often using the very same phony justifications from the same book of bronze age fairy tales.


"The fact that we can't time-travel a get a mint condition 1st Edition Torah, is irrelevant. You have to demonstrate that it has been altered, or else we assume that it is a copy of the original work. You need to provide evidence to show that it has been altered, or that their is a reason to suppose scribes could get away with mis-copying or altering sacred scripture without the other scribes, the priests, or the entire nation noticing."


no i dont...because your claims of biblical inalterability throughout the ages are just that...claims and so far, unsubstanciated ones at that. you are the one making a truth claim that the bible hasnt changed...all i did was to communicate to you my disbelief of your claims.

Anonymous Mudz February 25, 2013 12:51 AM  

@ Lud

The bible is a common reference. And to quote Bart Simpson, "the stupid little differences are nothing next to the big stupid similarities.'

You recognise the shortcomings of your system? The shortcomings is that your morality is non-existent. You are a self-contained bubble of moral impetus, drawing on no references that would bind you to the rest of society. A morality that applies to one person is usually called psychopathy.

The drawback in my moral system is that people can disagree about interpretation of language. And the thing is, if two of us disagree, then one of us is wrong.

the Joshua "campaigns" if they could even be called that were not acts of war.

Your argument hinges upon appealing to the bible. You're saying that they are inconsistent because thet action they committed, you believe to contradict the law set forth in the bible.

You are implicitly supporting my argument without realising it. I will resist taking the bait to add more material. I am happy to discuss history, interpretation and all that jazz, in a different thread, but I am not willing to allow you to miss the point.

no i dont...because your claims of biblical inalterability throughout the ages are just that...claims and so far,

Again, my argument has nothing to do with if the bible was ever different in the past. All extant material so far uncovered has supported it's veracity, but it's tangential to the argument. If it hasn't changed, then that's makes it's moral credibility stronger, but simply the fact that Christians have a common moral reference now makes it superior to a non-moralistic system like 'moral relativity'.

I don't think it has changed. It's also doesn't matter. The secular argument of the superiority of Bible vs Moral Relativity does not actually rely on its history, even if your objections were of any note. What matters is the role it plays now, and the biblical Christian system of morality as it exists now.

For crying out loud, basically any moral system would be better than moral relativism. You really want to make them equivalent so that your morality dosen't seem so ridiculous, but it is. You are failing to understand one of the most basic concepts, 'obligation' as opposed to 'desire'.

Also, your imagination is not evidence. The writers of the bible regularly wrote down the many and various ways in which they completely failed in their obligations and as people. Which has the advantage of being a verifiable assertion. How inconvenient.

Blogger Lud VanB February 25, 2013 2:12 PM  

"For crying out loud, basically any moral system would be better than moral relativism. "


For crying out loud morality is a social construct. it does not exist outside the scope of social interactions and because social norms are relative, then so are all morals by their very nature. the only thing you are doing is draping your own moral beliefs under the cloak you call christianity to delude yourself into believing that they are somehow fixed and better than everyone elses. and yes you have repeatadly used your declared belief your declared and quite unsubstanciated belief of the inalterability of your scriptures, which i pointed out was far from being an established fact, as some sort of proof validating your initial assumption. circular reasoning 101 my friend. And no i was not validating your argument, implicitly or otherwise when i pointed out that the bible declares murder and theft as immoral acts only to describe such acts being performed by the hebrews a mere few chapters later not as moral failings but as moraly righteous actions because it ws conveniant to their situation that the people living on the land they wanted for themselves be exterminated, making the OT morality not only relativistic but even self contradictory.

Anonymous Mudz February 25, 2013 8:58 PM  

1 - The morals in the bible, have nothing to do with the moral system.

2 - My beliefs about the history, inalterability (and that's silly, that's not what I said, except that we cannot legally alter it, not by vote, committee or command. Even that does happen it doesn't undermine my case of a superior system, just that we need to protect it better), or authorship of the bible also do not affect the system. They reinforce the superiority of the system, but they are not required to establish just that it is superior.

3 - Even if you were correct in that it contradicted itself, which it does not (I recommend you read the opening verses of Joshua and try and square that away in your own mind), it does not make it relative, it makes it contradictory. Moreover, the actions of the Israelites do not actually affect the Mosaic Law, Leviticus, or the gospel. The bible contains the law, but not all of the bible is the Law. Even if we suppose that Joshua violated the law, he did not modify it.
Some of it is history, some of it is songs of praise, etc.

I answered this point, because a contradictory moral code could actually be just as bad as an arbitrarily relative one. So it's worth arguing.

4 - Even if we go with that 'social construct' crap, the 'social construct' of a morality based on the bible is superior to the 'social construct' of a morality that applies to one man. Because the 'socially constructed' system revolves around written law which cannot be legally modified by any person you recognise exists, whereas yours revolves around your own disposition.

5 - It does exist outside of social interaction. That's kind of the point. The bible exists with or without Christians, without any on the planet to read it. Our 'social interaction' is needed to apprehend it, but our 'social interaction' does not invent it. our 'social interaction' has to be jsutified from a single objective point of reference. The effect of this being that our moral system is more stable. And better. In every way. After all, the Catholic Church has lasted 2000+/- years. How many organisations can claim that?

And why are you trying to reverse even basic logic? I've been a Christian since I was four. Christianity has been around for over 2000 years. (I don't think even you would argue that one.)
How on earth do you imagine that I also did the time-travel trick to invent Christianity to drape over all my 3-4 year old moral beliefs?

I think you're doing a lot of mental 'model-based history'.

You'll notice that the commandment to inherit the land exiseted before part of the Mosiac Law, and all this before the campaigns of Joshua. Do you think Joshua time-travelled?

Anonymous Mudz February 25, 2013 8:58 PM  

And don't forget, this is a commandment from God, not some citizen taking the law into his own hands. Even if we presume it was the Israelite leadership that made these commands, the effect is the same. It was a government decision, not a personal act of crime. Whether it's morally right or wrong in itself has no bearing on the distinction between nation and man.

Exodus Chapter 23:

verse 23: "For my angel will go ahead of you and will indeed bring you to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perrizzites and the Cannanites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I shall certainly efface them.

verse 27: And I shall send the fright of me ahead of you, and I shall certainly throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I shall indeed give the back of the neck of all your enemies to you.

31: "And I will fix your boundary from the Red Sea to the sea of the Philistines and from the wilderness to the River; because I shall give into your hand the inhabitants of the land, and you will certainly drive them out from before yourself."

And more, of that nature, further on. He even repeats the covenant including the command to drive out these nations in chapter 34.

And the campaigns began way before Joshua anyway. And here's another passage I found conveniently.

Deuteronomy 6: 10, 11 - "And it must occur that when Jehovah your God will bring you into the land that he swore to your forefatheres Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give you, great and good-looking cities that you did not build, and houses full of good things that you did not fill, and cisterns hewn out that you did not hew out, vineyards and olive trees you did not plant, and you shall have eaten and become satisfied,"

And God repeated reminded the sons of Israel not to 'feel sorry' for destroying these nations.

Chapter 9:4 - "Do not say in your heart when Jehovah your God pushes them away from before you this, 'It was for my own righteousness that Jehovah has brought me in to take possession of this land, whereas it is for the wickedness of these nations that jehovah is driving them before you..."

Here's another commandment: Deuteronomy 13:14,15 - "...and if the thing is established as the truth, this detestable thing has been done in your midst, you should without fail strike down the inhabitants with the edge of the sword. Devote it and everything that is in it, and its domestic animals, to destruction at the edge of the sword. (16) And all its spoil you should collect into the middle of its public square, and you must burn it in the fire of the city and all its spoil as a whole offering to Jehovah your God..."

He didn't play favourites even with his Israelites. This was a commandment to destroy Israelite apostates and their cities.

And just to round things off:

Joshua 1:1-3:

"And it came about after the death of Moses the servant of Joehavoah that Jehovah proceeded to say to Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses: (2) "Moses my servant is dead; and now get up, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, into thet land that I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. (3) Every place upon which the sole of your foot will tread, to you people I will certainly give it, just as I promised to Moses."

Anonymous Mudz February 25, 2013 8:59 PM  

Your other chief problem, other than your loyalty to a moralism that cannot compel anyone to be moral, is that you're trying to interpret 'murder' and 'theft' in a way convenient to you and your argument. And yet, no matter how often you try to make that case, you'll always be wrong. The bible will not 'change it's mind' on your account.


If moral relativity was superior or equal to a system of Law, then why do governments have a legal system? Why do people go to court? Why don't they just shrug and go 'Well, it obviously didn't seem wrong to him."?

Because that doesn't achieve anything. Criminals don't volunteer to be penalised if they don't feel they have to.

Why aren't you using your moral relativity to show me the error of the bible? Because you can't. If I adopted your morality I could still simply ignore you, and quite happily will. You have to reason from the bible because it's an authority I cannot ignore, because all my moral foundations come from it. Contrarily, there is nothing I can appeal to in order to moralise with you.

I can just talk, and hopefully you draw moral conclusions somewhat similiar to mine. Moral relativism, does not work, morals have to be applicable to more than one person to mean anything.

Anonymous Mudz February 25, 2013 9:00 PM  

Sorry, for the typos. I'm in a hurry.

Anonymous Contemplationist February 25, 2013 9:47 PM  

I'm an atheist who thoroughly enjoyed TIA and have updated my beliefs since. I held the 'religion causes war' belief but only in regards to Islam, so even though the overall belief seems to lack evidence, Islam is still comparatively much more violent and so I don't feel too bad about holding the belief. I'm very certain that the A+ leftist contingent of atheists make no such distinctions and I'm convinced that their primary goal is the destruction of Christianity and any hints of Christian culture in the West. In that regard, I am their enemy and an even bigger proponent and admirer of Christian civilization, thanks to VoxDay. Nonetheless I remain an atheist.

Blogger Lud VanB February 25, 2013 10:10 PM  

"1 - The morals in the bible, have nothing to do with the moral system."

they have everything to do with the christian moral system...the later requires the former in order to even exist.

"2 - My beliefs about the history, inalterability (and that's silly, that's not what I said, except that we cannot legally alter it, not by vote, committee or command. Even that does happen it doesn't undermine my case of a superior system, just that we need to protect it better), or authorship of the bible also do not affect the system. They reinforce the superiority of the system, but they are not required to establish just that it is superior."

but they do...your beliefs, as i have shown, are a set of working assumptions passed down to you by other humans who came before you, most of which have no actual basis in fact but they are nevertheless what you rely upon to convince yourself of the inherent superiority of the christian moral system.

"3 - Even if you were correct in that it contradicted itself, which it does not (I recommend you read the opening verses of Joshua and try and square that away in your own mind), it does not make it relative, it makes it contradictory. Moreover, the actions of the Israelites do not actually affect the Mosaic Law, Leviticus, or the gospel. The bible contains the law, but not all of the bible is the Law. Even if we suppose that Joshua violated the law, he did not modify it.
Some of it is history, some of it is songs of praise, etc."


it is self contradictory because the murder of the cannanite people for the theft of their lands is not considered a moral aberation by the scriptures even though those very acts are declared described as such by the very same scriptures with no written exceptions for any changing circumstances...(thou shalt not murder...unless...) and relative because it contains a flaw...belief in divine special dispensation. i would agree that it is most likely either the one or the other but it is certainly one of those.

"4 - Even if we go with that 'social construct' crap, the 'social construct' of a morality based on the bible is superior to the 'social construct' of a morality that applies to one man. Because the 'socially constructed' system revolves around written law which cannot be legally modified by any person you recognise exists, whereas yours revolves around your own disposition."

thats what you are accusing me of saying but its not what i said at all. the very fact that said morals are social constructs means i believe they are only usefull if they are applied to the entire social group and not to just one self contained individual. but that doesnt negate their inherent relativity because changes in the social group will cause the morals of said group to change alongside them. this has been the well documented history of human morality for as long as people have been interested in recording such things.

"5 - It does exist outside of social interaction. That's kind of the point. The bible exists with or without Christians, without any on the planet to read it."

oh come on...you didnt just say that did you? of course the existense of the bible requires the apriori existence of a planet, humans living on that planet, and at least some of these humans being christians. the bible didnt create christians....christians created the bible and everything it contains.

Anonymous Mudz February 27, 2013 8:05 PM  

I'm fairly certain I've made my case, but I'm gonna take a couple more cracks at it, until you either understand, or until I'm satisfied you never will, no matter how long I continue this dialogue, and on your own head be it.

1)

they have everything to do with the christian moral system...the later requires the former in order to even exist.

Actually, no. Even if so, irrelevant. I can get me a brand new book and call it, 'the book of the King's Decrees that everyone will have to follow', before actually writing anything in it.

2)
but they do...your beliefs, as i have shown, are a set of working assumptions passed down to you by other humans who came before you, most of which have no actual basis in fact but they are nevertheless what you rely upon to convince yourself of the inherent superiority of the christian moral system.

The first half about 'working assumptions', doesn't mean anything, and it's wrong anyway because it's a record, not an assumption; the second half, is an assertion you have made without any supporting evidence. You don't even have an apparence of fact.

it is self contradictory because the murder of the cannanite people for the theft of their lands is not considered a moral aberation by the scriptures even though those very acts are declared described as such by the very same scriptures with no written exceptions for any changing circumstances...(thou shalt not murder...unless...) and relative because it contains a flaw...belief in divine special dispensation. i would agree that it is most likely either the one or the other but it is certainly one of those.

You are obviously not interested in an honest discussion. I have repeatedly explained to you, a) your grasp of language is weak (since you're Spanish, if I recall, I can understand that part), b) you should be smart enough to grasp context anyway.

The command to drive out those nations was included in the very same commandments. The most credible explanation, is that whoever wrote it, they obviously equated 'murder' and 'war' or even 'invade and slaughter' as completely different things, just as we do now.

Look, do you agree or disagree that 'war' and 'murder' are two different concepts.

If you disagree, the obvious answer is that the ancient Israelites (or whoever) did consider them different. So your moral relatavism should be perfectly at ease.

Anonymous Mudz February 27, 2013 8:05 PM  

thats what you are accusing me of saying but its not what i said at all. the very fact that said morals are social constructs means i believe they are only usefull if they are applied to the entire social group and not to just one self contained individual.

Then we agree, morals are only useful if applied to a group. But there is no reason to accept any of your moralising. Your morality only works for one person, because there is no outside reference, no particular way where another man would have to concede a moral argument. He could just go, 'well that you, not me. I think rape is great.'

Whereas, if I was in the same sitch with another Christian, I can go 'but it says in the bible here' and he'd have to defend himself, or concede that he's an evil bastard who's going straight to hell, or oblivion or wherever.

but that doesnt negate their inherent relativity because changes in the social group will cause the morals of said group to change alongside them. this has been the well documented history of human morality for as long as people have been interested in recording such things.

Except for the bible. You seem to think you're arguing against me, but you've just shown the difference between self-directed morality, and the bible, where the word is the word, and isn't subject to 'changes in the social group' whatever that means.

oh come on...you didnt just say that did you? of course the existense of the bible requires the apriori existence of a planet, humans living on that planet, and at least some of these humans being christians. the bible didnt create christians....christians created the bible and everything it contains.

You should read that again. Not 'the bible would have existed even had there never been humans on the planet', but that 'if everyone on the planet was to disappear right now, the bible would remain. It would remain with the death of humanity, it would remain if aliens dropped in and picked it up for their collection, it would remain until the very last bible was actually destroyed.'

christians created the bible and everything it contains.

You also might want to rethink that bit. You seem to have trouble with the concept of time.

Anonymous Mudz February 27, 2013 8:07 PM  

@ Contemplationist

Good on ya, dude. I hope you won't object if I pray and hope for your conversion, anyway. :)

Blogger Lud VanB February 28, 2013 7:19 AM  

"I'm fairly certain I've made my case, but I'm gonna take a couple more cracks at it, until you either understand, or until I'm satisfied you never will, no matter how long I continue this dialogue, and on your own head be it."

you didnt make any case...you stated your opinion and i rejected it and i explained why i did.

"Actually, no. Even if so, irrelevant. I can get me a brand new book and call it, 'the book of the King's Decrees that everyone will have to follow', before actually writing anything in it."


yes, you can get a book written by another human who came before you which is in line with what i stated. but you cannot get a book that was not written by a human because as far as is known no such thing ever existed before humans invented them.


"The first half about 'working assumptions', doesn't mean anything, and it's wrong anyway because it's a record, not an assumption; the second half, is an assertion you have made without any supporting evidence. You don't even have an apparence of fact."

the assumptions i am refering to concerns your belief in the supernatural origin of your bibles' teachings. Since the supernatural is by definition an objective unknowable, anything it is associated with becomes an assumption without objective basis. and you should learn the difference between assertion and observation.

"Look, do you agree or disagree that 'war' and 'murder' are two different concepts."


that actually depends largely on the context. Throughout history, murder has mostly been defined as pretty much any instances where a human kills another human for any other reason than immediate self defense or the defense of dependent humans or in some cases the immediate defense of personal property. if a war is fought for any reason other than those, than what you have is a gigantic instance of orchestrated mass murder taking place. which means that the invasion of Cannan and the subsequent massacre of its people falls squarely in the definition of orchestrated mass murder and yes even if God ordered it, it does not alter the nature of the act itself.

"If you disagree, the obvious answer is that the ancient Israelites (or whoever) did consider them different. So your moral relatavism should be perfectly at ease."

moral relativism doesnt mean i have to agree with actions i find objectionable just because the people who performed those actions did not.

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