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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mailvox: God and morality: the connection

Groggy doesn't understand why the question of morality and the question of the existence of God are intrinsically related:
I never really understood why the question of whether morality was objective was tightly coupled to the existence of God.

For example Sam Harris says morality is objective, and it can be discovered and solved through science alone in The Moral Landscape.

It seems that science deals with the objective, hence science would be a good tool for dealing with morality, if morality were purely objective.

If the 10 commandments just come down from God and are dictated to us, without us having any say, then isn't that subjective morality, because then morality is just whatever God says it is?

I think J. Peterson would say that God speaking in the 10 commandments is not a literal truth but a deep psychological truth (evolved, even), built into the human mind which needs to come out through religious expression, and is more akin to 'objective' morality, I suppose.

For example if God had commanded in the 10 commandments - Thou Shalt Murder, would it be right or wrong? If morality is objective, then murder would always be wrong regardless of what the 10 commandments say.

I just never really understood why "morality is objective" was associated with Christianity and "there is no objective morality" was associated with Atheism. I don't see the logical connection.

If somebody could explain it I would be very grateful.
The intrinsic connection is because if there is, in fact, a Universal Moral Standard, (or to use the more common term, Universal Law), then logic dictates that there must be a Universal Lawgiver. This is why atheists are driven to deny objective and/or universal morality, due to the implication that if it exists, a Creator God exists too.

The fact that Sam Harris says morality can be discovered and solved through science alone is in itself evidence that it cannot be, because Sam Harris is an inept philosopher and his argument is both illogical and incorrect. I addressed this four years ago, both on this blog and in the appendix of the book On the Existence of Gods.
Unfortunately, Harris appears to have adopted Richard Dawkins’ favorite device of presenting a bait-and-switch definition in lieu of a logically substantive argument. He repeatedly utilizes the following technique:

1) Admittedly, X is not Y.
2) But can’t we say that X could be considered Z?
3) And Z is Y.
4) Therefore, X can be Y.

For example, in an attempt to get around Hume’s is/ought dichotomy, Harris readily admits that “good” in the sense of “morally correct” is not objectively definable and that what one individual perceives as good can differ substantially from that which another person declares to be “good.” So, he suggests the substitution of “well-being” for “good” because there are numerous measures of “well-being,” such as life expectancy, GDP per capita and daily caloric intake, that can be reduced to numbers and are therefore measurable. After all, everyone understands what it means to be in good health despite the fact that “health” is not perfectly defined in an objective and scientific manner. Right?

However, even if we set aside the obvious fact that the proposed measures of well-being are of dubious utility – life expectancy does not account for quality of life, GDP does not account for debt and more calories are not always desirable – the problem is that Harris simply ignores the way in which his case falls completely apart when it is answered in the negative. No, we cannot simply accept that “moral” can reasonably be considered “well-being” because it is not true to say that which is “of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong” is more than remotely synonymous with “that which fosters well-being in one or more human beings.”
A Creator God-defined morality can be described as arbitrary, but it cannot be described as subjective. If God had defined murder as good, then an act of murder would be good, in exactly the same way that if the NFL defines a pass that goes out of bounds incomplete, then the pass is incomplete even if the receiver clearly caught it. Groggy's problem is that he is unconsciously assuming a deeper concept of good by which the objective standard itself is to be judged.

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165 Comments:

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer November 28, 2017 11:16 AM  

For example if God had commanded in the 10 commandments - Thou Shalt Murder, would it be right or wrong? If morality is objective, then murder would always be wrong regardless of what the 10 commandments say.

This is a restatement of the argument that if the there is a moral standard outside of God then there is no need for God. The Christian answer is that God's nature is good and he won't command you to do anything that goes against that nature. God is the standard of good and since murder is evil, he won't command you to do it.

Blogger Desdichado November 28, 2017 11:19 AM  

It does seem to drive atheists a bit crazy to understand that Christians are perfectly happy applying tautological logical fallacies to God and not carrying. If God says something is good, it is so, by definition, because God said so.

The Christian faith, which naturally I hold, doesn't have any problem with this. The atheist wants to hold God accountable to human standards. It simply doesn't work that way.

The nature of faith is that it is, by definition, bordering on irrational. This is a paradox that the atheist never seems able to get over, because of his own lack of faith. Lacking faith, they will never understand God, as Paul said to the Hebrews.

Anonymous Jack Amok November 28, 2017 11:20 AM  

f the 10 commandments just come down from God and are dictated to us, without us having any say, then isn't that subjective morality, because then morality is just whatever God says it is?

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what God is. If the Christian God exists, He is not Odin or Zeus or some supernatural manifestation of humanity, but rather the force that brought the universe into existence and defined it's parameters. Gravity is just as arbitrary, but it is not subjective.

Blogger Jake November 28, 2017 11:21 AM  

Believe the Christian answer is can't rather.

Blogger Aeoli Pera November 28, 2017 11:23 AM  

OT: Useful link for understanding Gammas.

http://samvak.tripod.com/grandiosefantasies.html

Blogger JAU November 28, 2017 11:24 AM  

"[I]f there is, in fact, a Universal Moral Standard, (or to use the more common term, Universal Law), then logic dictates that there must be a Universal Lawgiver"

-VD

This is the step in the argument that gives me the most difficulty. Does a (non man-made) law necessarily imply a lawgiver, or are we assuming our own conclusion based our experience with human law?

Anonymous Faceless November 28, 2017 11:26 AM  

@2

One more on this:

The Christian who reads his Bible knows that God tells us - and, lacking anywhere else, just turn to Job - to do as we're told, because we aren't going to understand, and our attempt to moralize is talking out of place. We have no capacity to moralize outside of being told what is moral.

Empirical study of mankind will tell you that, as Kohelet observed, the vast preponderance of men and all women will fit this description of being incapable of any moral discernment if lef to their own devices.

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 11:28 AM  

>A Creator God-defined morality can be described as arbitrary, but it cannot be described as subjective. If God had defined murder as good, then an act of murder would be good, in exactly the same way that if the NFL defines a pass that goes out of bounds incomplete, then the pass is incomplete even if the receiver clearly caught it. Groggy's problem is that he is unconsciously assuming a deeper concept of good by which the objective standard itself is to be judged.

I doubt it's really unconscious. This kind of a standard, which as a practical matter boils down to referencing your favorite holy book for the meaning of "good," just seems really unhelpful as a theory of morality, for obvious reasons. I'm sure the standard response is some variant of "it's the best we can do," but I doubt that's actually the case.

Blogger yoghi.llama November 28, 2017 11:28 AM  

After all, everyone understands what it means to be in good health despite the fact that “health” is not perfectly defined in an objective and scientific manner. Right?

No. The chronic fatigue syndrome / ME / fibromyalgia patients don't. They have no clue.

Blogger Aeoli Pera November 28, 2017 11:33 AM  

On-topic,


It seems that science deals with the objective, hence science would be a good tool for dealing with morality, if morality were purely objective.


https://www.amazon.com/Righteous-Mind-Divided-Politics-Religion/dp/0307455777

Blogger Aeoli Pera November 28, 2017 11:35 AM  

Also: https://infogalactic.com/info/Moral_foundations_theory

Blogger Rick November 28, 2017 11:37 AM  

I think it’s more helpful to think of the 10 Commandments as not “commands” as we understand the word but simply as statements of fact offered from a loving God. Valentin Tomberg refers to them as “divine-human” pleas.

Blogger Aeoli Pera November 28, 2017 11:38 AM  

You may also find this chart I made helpful. Just be warned I made it up on a whim, it's not a sciencey thing.

Anonymous Looking Glass November 28, 2017 11:40 AM  

The Enlightenment presupposes an Elder God of "Reason" that sits above all other considerations. The disconnect between the approaches is why so many Philosophy approaches always end up in circular reasoning situations. The argument isn't actually about the nature of morality, its objective or subjective nature, but about the supremacy of Reason over the Divine.


@2 Desdichado

Faith is not irrational. Faith may be misplaced, but it is not an irrational position, choice or condition. You're reading this text on a device you don't actually understand nor have the ability to produce yourself. You have faith it'll work, yet the technical complexities are beyond nearly all humans to understand. Yet you'll pull out your cellphone to send a text and think nothing of it.

"Faith is irrational" is centuries old gaslighting of Christians by the proto-Atheists and Satanic forces.

Blogger S1AL November 28, 2017 11:41 AM  

'This is the step in the argument that gives me the most difficulty. Does a (non man-made) law necessarily imply a lawgiver, or are we assuming our own conclusion based our experience with human law?'

This falls into the definition of a "law" in the moral sense. If 'ought' is a true statement, then there must be someone (Someone) to define 'ought'. That's the difference between natural law and declared law.

That said, the question "why does the universe have natural laws" is a sticky one for atheists. Dawkins has, in the past, made the mistake of arguing that miracles undermine the ability to do proper science. The overwhelming retort is that a man who believes that the universe can mindlessly spring into existence from nothing, for no reason, is really in no position to object to mindful miracles.

Blogger Salt November 28, 2017 11:44 AM  

JAU wrote:Does a (non man-made) law necessarily imply a lawgiver, or are we assuming our own conclusion based our experience with human law?

Think about that. Does a law that says one shall stop at a red light require that it be imposed by a lawgiver or is stopping for a red light subjectively innate to human existence?

Anonymous VFM #6306 November 28, 2017 11:45 AM  

Does a (non man-made) law necessarily imply a lawgiver, or are we assuming our own conclusion based our experience with human law?

Of course it implies exactly that, JAU. By definition, any law is the expression of a lawgiver. Gravity has a law, and you may attribute that law to Nature or to the Creator or to space turtles, but you can't ascribe it to nothing.

This would be true whether people existed or not.

Anonymous Crazy Horse November 28, 2017 11:53 AM  

"A Creator God-defined morality can be described as arbitrary, but it cannot be described as subjective."

LOL....That's true. And it's equally true that a unicorn with demonstrable magical abilities would also have a warrant to rule over us.

But hey....as soon as you prove that gods exist, we'll stop laughing at you.

Blogger Ingot9455 November 28, 2017 11:54 AM  

As has been mentioned here before. In the Old Testament, when God sets down a law sometimes he gives a reason why and sometimes he does not. Sometimes he says, that's unclean, don't do that, and other times he says, don't do that because I am the Lord your good and I say so.

We can guess at why and we might learn some possible reasons why, but we can't necessarily know God's reasons given our limited capabilities at the moment.

For example, one possible reason for Jews not eating pork was trichinosis in peasant cultures. Does that mean it's okay for Jews to eat pork if you test it for trichinosis and it's clean? No, God still said so...

And recently there's been new theories you can read about in the 'Biblical Diet' books and other places where they get into how pig/boar are single-stomach trash feeders and serve to concentrate/process various environmental toxins just like bottom-feeding catfish. Whereas four-stomached ruminants cleanse out all that and are much safer.

The point of all this is a reminder that we still know very little and while Science! in general might be able to determine these moral questions it's very possible that we won't be able to know them for many lifetimes yet, or that we may be misled by a bad person claiming Science!

Witness the grain-heavy 'food pyramid' which caused such horror for what, three generations now before it is finally becoming uncovered?

Blogger VD November 28, 2017 11:54 AM  

Does a (non man-made) law necessarily imply a lawgiver, or are we assuming our own conclusion based our experience with human law?

Yes. No.

I doubt it's really unconscious. This kind of a standard, which as a practical matter boils down to referencing your favorite holy book for the meaning of "good," just seems really unhelpful as a theory of morality, for obvious reasons.

Here is a hint: when discussing philosophical matters, only someone who is a) in over his head, or, b) wants to change the subject, raises a practical objection. You are off on an irrelevant tangent.

Blogger VD November 28, 2017 11:55 AM  

But hey....as soon as you prove that gods exist, we'll stop laughing at you.

I have. Read the book. And you're not laughing. You're actually very angry and philosophically inept, which is why you are resorting to crude and ineffective rhetoric.

Anonymous Reenay November 28, 2017 11:56 AM  

Why is the constant for gravity such that Earth exerts 9.8 m/s^2 of acceleration on masses toward its core?

Why couldn't the constant have been such that it was 9.9 instead?

More interestingly, why is that constant a constant? We don't expect the sign for that constant to suddenly turn negative tomorrow morning, throwing your bed (along with you in it) crashing into the roof. How can we perform scientody on gravity without axiomatically defining the force of gravity as a constant? You can't. Faith. In a Lawgiver.

Anonymous Crazy Horse November 28, 2017 11:57 AM  

"God is the standard of good and since murder is evil, he won't command you to do it."

LOL...It's impossible for the Christian god to be good since it has never been in a position where his actions would have any impact of any sort on him.

Anonymous Crazy Horse November 28, 2017 11:59 AM  

"Think about that. Does a law that says one shall stop at a red light require that it be imposed by a lawgiver or is stopping for a red light subjectively innate to human existence?"

It's "innate" to human traffic safety.

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 12:00 PM  

>By definition, any law is the expression of a lawgiver. Gravity has a law, and you may attribute that law to Nature or to the Creator or to space turtles, but you can't ascribe it to nothing.

It shouldn't be so easy to get people to accept that there must be a personality behind everything. Gravity is just an observed regularity in nature, whether or not you call it a "law." I'm pretty sure you aren't saying every observed regularity implies a personality as its cause -- the "law implies a lawgiver" argument is just empty semantics.

Anonymous Crazy Horse November 28, 2017 12:01 PM  

"I have. Read the book. And you're not laughing. You're actually very angry and philosophically inept, which is why you are resorting to crude and ineffective rhetoric."

LOL......Here is a man confusing evidence for proof. Don't mind me...LOL

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer November 28, 2017 12:02 PM  

The atheist position, as far as I can discern, is that morality is an arbitrary set of instincts arising from evolutionary forces that allowed our species to survive and flourish. We are the cooperating ape. Which is fine, as far as it goes. But does not answer the question of why anyone should follow those instincts. Usually there will be talk of group well-being and the species continuing. But that presupposes a value for the group well-being and continuation of the species. An honest answer, which you will get occasionally, is that if you don't obey the rules you will be outcast and miserable. So you go along to get along. But a lot of atheists like to think of themselves as courageous free thinkers trying to spread light among the religious dullards. So they don't care to think of themselves that way.

Anonymous Looking Glass November 28, 2017 12:03 PM  

@19 Ingot9455

Levitical laws, if followed, massively keeps down disease spread throughout a community in the age before disinfectants. Related, the compounds used to make things as Holy for the Temple are pretty fierce cleaning agents. This is not an accident.

The Lord's commands are there to help you, not hurt you. Much intentional damage has been done to Christians by the classic, "but did God reaaaally mean that?". There's a reason this is hard, because it takes effort & self-control. Modern societies exist because Christians exist. What Christians do, when acting actually Christian, produces results far beyond every other culture in human history.

But it requires a little Faith, and that's hard to come by.

Anonymous Reenay November 28, 2017 12:04 PM  

Metric, what about the regularity of regularity? And why is the regularity of regularity so regular?

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer November 28, 2017 12:05 PM  

I would like to propose a new law of the Internet, which I will call the Crazy Horse Law. It states that if you start off nearly every post in a thread with LOL then the chances of you being a nitwit approaches 100%

Anonymous Brick Hardslab November 28, 2017 12:08 PM  

Can we have a requirement for atheists to read TIA and take a test to prove it before they comment? Otherwise we keep seeing the same arguments/distractions/distortions over and over. At least they'd know which lines of bs had already been tried.

Blogger Brad Richards November 28, 2017 12:08 PM  

VD gives a good summary that an atheist (at least this one) can agree with: If there were an all powerful god who declared what is moral, then from a human perspective those rules would be fundamental, objective principles.

If there is no such god, of course, then there is equally no objective basis for morality. Instead, as Howard Stone explained very well a couple of days ago morality is the sum of the actions that we have evolved (both individually and as a society), in order to survive and prosper. ROn Winkleheimer also summarized this well, in #27 just above.

There is some substantial variation of the rules amongst societies: Christian morality is different from Islamic is different from Haitian Vodou. We also see correlations in the success of these societies. Oversimplified, but basically true: Christian principles plus the Protestant work ethic gave us Western civilization.

Desdichado wrote:It does seem to drive atheists a bit crazy to understand that Christians are perfectly happy applying tautological logical fallacies to God and not carrying. If God says something is good, it is so, by definition, because God said so.

Not at all. We understand that you are coming from a different set of beliefs. For you, the ten commandments really were carried down the mountain by Moses. We simply regard them as behavioral standards developed by society to reduce conflict and thereby promote survival. If society needed to invent an all-powerful god, in order to give heft to those principles, well, whatever works.

Blogger Eric Castle November 28, 2017 12:08 PM  

8. >I doubt it's really unconscious. This kind of a standard, which as a practical matter boils down to referencing your favorite holy book for the meaning of "good,"

If you were in any way knowledgeable in the numerous evidences for Biblical inspiration you would understand a consistent, normative morality it but one of the proofs of a non-human origin for the Bible. Not all “holy books” are equal. That is not only a dodge, it is immaterial to the present argument.

How God chose to reveal morality is the NEXT discussion (for those curious the Bible states how most emphatically: cf. Heb. 1:1, 2; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21; et al. Read these claims at face value then remember you are reading a library of 66 books with perfect internal consistency penned over 1600 years by about 40 different men.)

Anonymous Crazy Horse November 28, 2017 12:09 PM  

"I would like to propose a new law of the Internet, which I will call the Crazy Horse Law. It states that if you start off nearly every post in a thread with LOL then the chances of you being a nitwit approaches 100%"

It's very similar to the law that states if you argument in favor of a creator god imposed morality starts with the assumption that there exists proof for a Creator God then the chances of your ideas being relevant to anything are close to nil.

Blogger Orthodox November 28, 2017 12:10 PM  

"LOL...It's impossible for the Christian god to be good since it has never been in a position where his actions would have any impact of any sort on him."

So close!

Blogger Student in Blue November 28, 2017 12:10 PM  

@6. JAU
This is the step in the argument that gives me the most difficulty. Does a (non man-made) law necessarily imply a lawgiver, or are we assuming our own conclusion based our experience with human law?

Probably the easiest way to think about this is to consider the Problem of Beauty. Not in the sense of "how can God be evil if things are beautiful", but rather "why in the world do we find things beautiful that aren't related to procreation?"

It's very easy to give a decent-sounding solution why men find certain types of women attractive, but it's far harder to figure out why we find landscapes beautiful, the sunrise beautiful, the sunset beautiful, dangerous storms beautiful. They're all wildly different things, yet somehow we derive pleasure from them.

There is a law behind beauty, and the current explanations behind a lawgiver ("It was all evolutionary processes!") fall flat.

Blogger Mocheirge November 28, 2017 12:13 PM  

Crazy Horse wrote:"God is the standard of good and since murder is evil, he won't command you to do it."

LOL...It's impossible for the Christian god to be good since it has never been in a position where his actions would have any impact of any sort on him.


Yeah, it's not like He ever came to Earth and obeyed all the laws and suffered because of people disobeying those laws. That would be like TOTALLY embarrassing. And since we know God thinks like a gamma male (secret king LOL), He wouldn't ever let that happen.

Blogger Orthodox November 28, 2017 12:14 PM  

"morality is the sum of the actions that we have evolved (both individually and as a society), in order to survive and prosper"

Raping and murdering being two of the best ways to survive and prosper.

Anonymous Raw Cringe November 28, 2017 12:16 PM  

You ought means you ought if you want X. Good means good for purpose X. The concepts of ought and good are inherently teleological.

As a matter of absolute, universal, unchangeable fact, every human being wants God above all other things. God is the telos in the teleology.

Performing actions that have a means to end relationship with attaining God is therefore the definition of good morality. This moral system is both objective and universal and depends on God's stated laws, since the best way to know how to obtain God is to hear it from him directly. Further it is not arbitrary since it follows from the nature of man and that of God.

Atheism cannot account for a telos of man which gives the ought statements of morality their purpose, since it cannot see anything objective and universal about humanity. At best a man's telos is something self-defined, as in Sartre, applying only to himself. If there is no God, there is not necessarily any innate supreme desire for any particular thing which could rule my other desires and give an overall direction to my life. There would be no higher standard to arbitrate between two men who differ on moral questions.

Atheists like John C Wright could believe in teleology only by being inconsistent, in my opinion. Teleology implies God.

Blogger Rabbi B November 28, 2017 12:17 PM  

Crazy Horse:

Your mental incontinence knows no bounds. Bravo!

Blogger DJ | AMDG November 28, 2017 12:18 PM  

I believe only those who have not raised a child from infancy to rational, independent thinker would ever be so bold to object to the notion morality must be taught (told) as in “it’s moral because God said so.”

Just look at the seven deadly sins. Every infant baby through 4yo commits them. Naturally and repeatedly. They are not taught or modeled those behaviors. They are innate. In fact, they must be taught and modeled the virtues!

Blogger Bob Loblaw November 28, 2017 12:21 PM  

For example Sam Harris says morality is objective, and it can be discovered and solved through science alone in The Moral Landscape.

That is, perhaps, the dumbest thing I've read this week. Science is a useful tool, but it's the wrong tool to address these kinds of questions. I wonder if Sam Harris pounds in his screws with a hammer.

You have to have a foundation for a moral code. Otherwise it isn't morality at all - it's just the current zeitgeist.

Blogger Beau November 28, 2017 12:23 PM  

A beautiful liberating moment in the life of a broken bankrupt man is that when he realizes the 10 commandments apply to him too - in full effect. He may have squandered his entire life up until this moment immersed in the fantasy no one could legitimately call him to account. He may have made wreckage of relationships, reputation, and career indulging in repugnant selfishness. He may have arrogantly and/or ignorantly crowed "My will be done!" But reaching through whatever path that moment of recognition of his own true state reflected back upon him declared in the terms of the Decalog is both crushing and freeing. Few have courage to face diving measurement. Those who do are blessed.

Blogger Lovekraft November 28, 2017 12:24 PM  

Groggy's gonna grog.

Anonymous Patron November 28, 2017 12:25 PM  

"For example if God had commanded in the 10 commandments - Thou Shalt Murder, would it be right or wrong? If morality is objective, then murder would always be wrong regardless of what the 10 commandments say."

Isn't murder by definition killing someone in such a manner as to be unlawful or immoral? Killing an enemy soldier in combat is not considered murder, for example. Thus, "Thou shalt murder" as a moral or legal commandment is logically impossible, because A can't be not A.

= = =

VFM #6306 wrote:Of course it implies exactly that, JAU. By definition, any law is the expression of a lawgiver. Gravity has a law, and you may attribute that law to Nature or to the Creator or to space turtles, but you can't ascribe it to nothing.

I'm not sure about that, at least with regards to gravity etc. Physical laws are more like descriptions of how things actually behave, whereas, per CS Lewis, moral law seems more like how people SHOULD behave. We say "thermodynamics behaves in such-and-such a manner" and call this description the law(s) of thermodynamics, but that doesn't get to the question of WHY things are that way, or whether there's any choice involved.

A bit like VD's need to invent terms like scientage, this seems like another case of the English language repurposing a word ("law") for something entirely different.

Blogger Rabbi B November 28, 2017 12:26 PM  

@43 Beau

Few have courage to face diving measurement. Those who do are blessed.

Exactly. Well said. It is the coward who willfully suppresses the truth to his own hurt.

Blogger Lovekraft November 28, 2017 12:26 PM  

"Love your enemies, therefore have no enemies."

Jesus Christ

Simple, beautiful, eternal.

I reference Eckhart Tolle when he describes the three options when dealing with unpleasant situations:

1. accept 2. change 3. leave.

However, when one digs one's heels in, and decides to fight rather than surrender to an aggressor, Tolle states that in doing so, one must live in the now and avoid bringing in unnecessary and counter-productive thinking.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 28, 2017 12:26 PM  

@Jack Amok

“Gravity is just as arbitrary, but it is not subjective.”

This.

Almost.

Gravity is neither.

It is but one of the many aspects of our existence that is incredibly (you might say miraculously) finely tuned.

That myriad of finely tuned parameters speaks deafeningly of the Designer.

Morality is, as noted, designed into the fabric of existence. God baked it in, since everything we make is a reflection of our character, but when you jump off the Empire State Building, God’s not killing you.

When you decree that strictures against homosexuality are irrational superstitious anachronisms, and you breed antibiotic resistant gonnorhea, God is not killing you.

(He might be chuckling - a little - but he’s not killing you)

You are.

The physical laws are reflective of, and therefore teachers about, the moral laws.

Some might admit, spiritual laws.

Spirit is primary, physical is secondary.

Most Christians have this upside down; atheists have plucked out one of their own eyes.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 28, 2017 12:33 PM  

“Atheists like John C Wright ...”

Now I’ve seen everything, I can die happy.

John’s gonna be *pissed*, tho!

Anonymous Uncle John's Band November 28, 2017 12:34 PM  

"If the 10 commandments just come down from God and are dictated to us, without us having any say, then isn't that subjective morality, because then morality is just whatever God says it is?"

People struggle to bridge the humanity of Christ and the utter transcendence of God. Metaphysically speaking, God doesn’t “decide” on values in anything resembling a human decision-making process. The comment above about teleology captures it, but many seem unable to grasp the fullness of the distinction between a teleologically-driven agent and the telos. The laughing atheists actively elide this difference to trivialize the transcendental and avoid more challenging metaphysical problems.

Blogger pyrrhus November 28, 2017 12:34 PM  

O/T Divide France to avoid civil war with the muslims..https://www.thenewamerican.com/world-news/europe/item/27453-french-author-divide-france-to-avoid-civil-war-with-muslims#
Interestingly, John Birmingham envisioned such a civil war about 15 years ago in one of his novels, with treasonous politicians on the muslim side.

Blogger VD November 28, 2017 12:35 PM  

LOL......Here is a man confusing evidence for proof. Don't mind me...LOL

We have confirmation of gamma. You'd believe in God if you ever managed to acquire a girlfriend. Because, let's face it, that would be miraculous.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 28, 2017 12:37 PM  

@Patron

If the physical laws were not as they are, we could not live here. If they were not laws, but were variable, we could not live here.

The absolute universal reliability of them is a witness of the character of he who made them.

Blogger pyrrhus November 28, 2017 12:38 PM  

@50 It seems to me that morality could be logically deduced from the nature of human beings, and the importance of family, children, etc, to survival of the species. But God knows all that, because he created us and our universe, so the Ten Commandments and other moral commandments are a short cut for us....

Blogger Rabbi B November 28, 2017 12:39 PM  

God created man in His image and what makes us similar to Him is our ability to say "no" to evil in spite of its allure and "yes" to good in spite of the hardships, suffering and sacrifices that may be involved.

And God has shown us what is good and what is required of all of us:

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (cf. Micah 6)

Blogger Gregory Daniel Nikolic November 28, 2017 12:42 PM  

Religion has gotten a bum rap of late. The biggest part of the problem lies with the urbanization of the world that has occurred over the last century. The sheep have, to coin a metaphor, drifted from the flock without a shepherd to gently issue them back in to the core.

Superstition has done even more poorly. The old ideas about witches and lucky numbers and symbols has the same weight as an origami figure of a giraffe fluttering down an air duct to a blooming incinerator fire.

But atheism . . . atheism, or its close cousin agnosticism, has fed fat.

These three variants of belief are converging in certain ways. Celebrity and Hollywood, as Chris Hedges instructs us, has taken part of the slack. The Greek and Aztec pantheons of cruel nobility and passionate blood-letting, respectively, are now replaced by sexytime figures of glamour and grace, whose every hand-gesture gets caught on a hundred flashbulbs, emailed across a continent to a New York head office that Does Not Believe.

When sports giants are interviewed by handheld microphones, the reporters often turn away, disinterested and rude. Why not? The regurgitated lines are always the same. Gotta hold tough. Gotta play with team spirit. Can’t give up an easy goal. It’s about as interesting as watching a Nabisco cake rise.

No one can deny the allure of religion at its heart, though. The secret to revitalizing it is to make it modern, fresh, immortal . . .



https://gregorynikolic.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/religion-superstition-or-atheism/

Anonymous basementhomebrewer November 28, 2017 12:45 PM  

John openly talks about being an atheist and his conversion process.

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 12:45 PM  

> And it's equally true that a unicorn with demonstrable magical abilities would also have a warrant to rule over us.

So you're a Brony then? Good to know. Just a hint though. It not usually a good idea to assume your fetishes can be generalized to everyone.

Blogger JaimeInTexas November 28, 2017 12:48 PM  

Related?

Sweden: Nobody helped woman raped by 20 Muslim migrants — neighbors have “learned not to see or hear too much”

https://www.jihadwatch.org/2017/11/sweden-nobody-helped-woman-raped-by-20-muslim-migrants-neighbors-have-learned-not-to-see-or-hear-too-much

Anonymous Patron November 28, 2017 12:49 PM  

@Resident Moron™

To give a silly example, I don't suppose it would make much difference if it's "E=MC^2" or "E=MC^2 + 0.00001" (or whatever), so I suspect there's rather more variation in the natural laws that we could exist under (and as we are now) than we know.

That said, I take your point about the Anthropic Principle.

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 12:49 PM  

> That myriad of finely tuned parameters speaks deafeningly of the Designer.

Yes. How one can look at he world and not see design has always escaped me.

Blogger Rabbi B November 28, 2017 12:51 PM  

Yes. How one can look at he world and not see design has always escaped me.

Men love the darkness.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab November 28, 2017 12:53 PM  

I feel badly for the little guy. No girlfriend and his realdoll secretly laughs at him when he is not looking.

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 12:56 PM  

> Men love the darkness.

That seems, hmm..., insufficient, somehow. But perhaps it is that simple.

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 12:57 PM  

> ... and his realdoll secretly laughs at him when he is not looking.

You are hereby presented with the "award winning cruelty artist in training" title.

Blogger Lovekraft November 28, 2017 12:57 PM  

@ 51 pyrrhus

Not sure if it's connected except for the fact there's French people involved, but Canada's QuebecIndependenceShakedownRacket usually rears its ugly head every decade or so.

Distinct society. Sure, ok. Anyways, I remember thinking, during the last extortion threat (which ROC, Rest of Canada, won by a hairs breath)that it is our fellow Canadians near the Quebec border (and inside, but they're steadily been rendered persona non grata)that'll be bearing the brunt of the initial purge and who we will have to prepare to aid. Nestled deep in SW Ontario is a bubble.

I wonder if the onslaught of charities pushing Africa famine (constant and emotion-driven) relief have some nefarious globalist aim of over-loading our empathy sense, thus allowing the above-noted territory grabs to go smoother.

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 1:03 PM  

>Here is a hint: when discussing philosophical matters, only someone who is a) in over his head, or, b) wants to change the subject, raises a practical objection. You are off on an irrelevant tangent.

I guess that's fair, in a field where there are an infinitude of practical objections. Still, I suspect that Groggy is trying to reason from principles themselves for practical reasons -- the principles themselves have objective properties and consequences (in the sense analogous to mathematics) that we can actually look at. Objectivity in the theistic sense doesn't help much, since it depends on the truth of a proposition that could easily be false, and we don't have a good test for.

Blogger The Overgrown Hobbit November 28, 2017 1:09 PM  

If God had defined murder as good, then an act of murder would be good, in exactly the same way that if the NFL defines a pass that goes out of bounds incomplete, then the pass is incomplete even if the receiver clearly caught it.

In other words, if God had created our universe such that a = not a, then, in fact that would be the case. But he didn't, so it's not.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab November 28, 2017 1:12 PM  

Oh no! That includes mandatory Malwyn sessions.

Blogger Rabbi B November 28, 2017 1:14 PM  

James Dixon wrote:> Men love the darkness.

That seems, hmm..., insufficient, somehow. But perhaps it is that simple.


The depraved and sinful mind hates the idea of being accountable to someone other than themselves. No one relishes the idea of having the light shine in our darkness, exposing us in all our ugliness and shame. But it's the only way a man will ever experience real freedom from what enslaves him.

Men love to think they are the masters of their fate and the captains of their souls and are quite loathe to admit that they are really slaves to a cruel and heartless master who cares nothing for them and wants nothing more than to destroy them.

Anonymous 罗臻 November 28, 2017 1:15 PM  

And it's equally true that a unicorn with demonstrable magical abilities would also have a warrant to rule over us.

More likely the Chinese would discover magical ability enhances the taste of unicorn meat.

Blogger tz November 28, 2017 1:16 PM  

I think the argument is akin to saying if God created the universe with slightly diffrent physical constants, we would have discovered a very different periodic table of the elements with more or fewer entries and perhaps a different shape.

Good is truth applied to morality.

Evil is either the denial of truth, or the acceptance but willing to do evil. Much like the laws of mathematics allows double entry bookkeeping, it also allows double book entry keeping.

The question is then why do good? This is where even Molyneux' UDP doesn't bridge is/ought, it is a description of how to mechanically determine the ought. Even if values are objective, someone might prefer a lower one, e.g. pleasure over principle.

It matters if we are truly mortal or eternal, if there is an ultimate just Judge (God, even the one of karma), or if you can just not get caught or somehow balance sins and righteous deeds, or something else that after death will determine things based on how often we chose to value the higher things.

You can say a life of pleasure until suicide is not worth it, but worth is your own value judgment. Same with a more ascetic and traditional family. There are hundreds of petty philosophers and even ordinary people who lived reprobate or righteous lives, and all they have left here on earth is a grave an headstone in most cases.

Abolition of Man's 2nd chapter goes into detail - for example war (think Sweden if they have to fight to remove the muslims). It can be considered noble and good to risk your life for your country, but why should it be my life and not yours? Why should I sacrifice instead of becoming a mercenary? "I will fight to the last drop of YOUR blood" isn't convincing. "God will reward you", be it with a high place in heaven for the crusader, or whatever for the Muslims (72 virgins is an error) can be.

Anonymous TomT November 28, 2017 1:31 PM  

"We have confirmation of gamma. You'd believe in God if you ever managed to acquire a girlfriend. Because, let's face it, that would be miraculous."

Welcome to 3rd grade, boys. Who's got the paste, paper and scissors?

Anonymous Crazy Horse November 28, 2017 1:39 PM  

"In other words, if God had created our universe such that a = not a, then, in fact that would be the case. But he didn't, so it's not."

Whoops....Category mistake. There is no God. Start over.

Blogger Matthew November 28, 2017 1:42 PM  

Crazy Horse, have you previously commented here using a different name?

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 1:42 PM  

> There is no God.

Prove it.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer November 28, 2017 1:46 PM  

Crazy Horse perused a couple of web sites and now is an unstoppable force for enlightenment. A bright. He knows the phrase category mistake. How can anyone prevail against that?!

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 28, 2017 1:47 PM  

"Welcome to 3rd grade, boys. Who's got the paste, paper and scissors?"

When dealing with third-graders, third grade tactics are sufficient.

Actually, to be more accurate, third graders have a definite tendency to require correction via spanking from time to time.

Blogger Rabbi B November 28, 2017 1:48 PM  

TomT wrote:"We have confirmation of gamma. You'd believe in God if you ever managed to acquire a girlfriend. Because, let's face it, that would be miraculous."

Welcome to 3rd grade, boys. Who's got the paste, paper and scissors?


C'mon, Tome, everyone knows you ate all the paste.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 28, 2017 1:48 PM  

"Whoops....Category mistake. There is no God. Start over."

A-priori. Time for you to go learn basic logic... finally.

Blogger Matthew November 28, 2017 1:49 PM  

I think he's one of the pathetic old ankle-biters, suddenly energized just barely enough to start nipping again. His choice of name suggests he's a reader, or at least someone who knows that Vox is a Native American Indian.

It's not Spooner or Tad, because they're easy to spot. I don't think it's Obvious, because he was far more intelligent.

Anonymous E Deploribus Unum November 28, 2017 1:53 PM  

Yes. How one can look at he world and not see design has always escaped me.

Exactly. My cat is symmetrical. That did it for me. Nothing random is symmetrical.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 28, 2017 1:54 PM  

Tiny?

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd November 28, 2017 1:54 PM  

James Dixon wrote:> There is no God.

Prove it.

Before that, God will prove there is no Crazy Horse.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 28, 2017 1:56 PM  

"God will prove there is no Crazy Horse."

Will?

Blogger Rabbi B November 28, 2017 1:58 PM  

Ominous Cowherd wrote:James Dixon wrote:> There is no God.

Prove it.


Before that, God will prove there is no Crazy Horse.


+1

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 2:01 PM  

>VD gives a good summary that an atheist (at least this one) can agree with: If there were an all powerful god who declared what is moral, then from a human perspective those rules would be fundamental, objective principles.

They would be objective, but still not necessarily divine. The creator could easily be a finite, imperfect being, as in the "simulation hypothesis." Someone who merely has the advantage of being a level up from us (thus all-powerful, from our perspective). You could objectively use His morality as a standard, but you still may want independent reasons for believing it's good, before you do.

Blogger James November 28, 2017 2:02 PM  

I understand why people accept other mortals as their authorities concerning things they cannot know. I did when I was younger, too. But, it doesn't matter if it was George Washington, or Napoleon, or Darwin, or Nietzsche, or Einstein, or Vox Day. Humans are eminently fallible, not infallible. Just remember: Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one and they think the other person's stinks.

Blogger Matthew November 28, 2017 2:02 PM  

Azure Amaranthine wrote:Tiny?

Tiny Tim was a theist, IIRC.

Anonymous Urban II November 28, 2017 2:03 PM  

It seems that science deals with the objective, hence science would be a good tool for dealing with morality, if morality were purely objective.

Science is descriptive; it is a method of reasoning aimed at describing how things are. Morality is normative; it is about how things should be or how one should behave. Therefore it is a category error to assert that science is the proper tool for dealing with morality.

Blogger VD November 28, 2017 2:04 PM  

Welcome to 3rd grade, boys. Who's got the paste, paper and scissors?

We had paste but Crazy Horse ate it.

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 2:07 PM  

> ... but still not necessarily divine.

Which of the definitions of the adjectival form of divine at dictionary.com would not apply? As far as I can see, you have to get down to number six before finding one that didn't. Or are you using some other definition of the term?

Blogger OGRE November 28, 2017 2:07 PM  

Ron Winkleheimer wrote:Crazy Horse perused RationalWiki and now is an unstoppable force for entertainment.

Fixed it for you.

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 2:14 PM  

>Which of the definitions of the adjectival form of divine at dictionary.com would not apply? As far as I can see, you have to get down to number six before finding one that didn't. Or are you using some other definition of the term?

I didn't consult a dictionary -- just my intuitive notion of being inherently perfect. There is no inherent reason a jerk can't be running his own universe.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer November 28, 2017 2:19 PM  

There is no inherent reason a jerk can't be running his own universe.

That is why, in the unlikely circumstance that human consciousness could be loaded into a computer, you should most definitely decline to let your consciousness be transferred. How, from outside of the machine, could you determine who was running it and whether or not they were malevolent?

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 2:20 PM  

> ... just my intuitive notion of being inherently perfect.

Ah. That's not quite what it means. The primary definition is "of or relating to a god, especially the Supreme Being." Which, by your own description, it would be.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 2:25 PM  

God IS the moral standard. It's His very nature.

The term used here is time preference. When we look at our short subjective time preferences versus His infinite nature our economy is going to come up short. We think pain is the worse evil, He knows better. Pain and suffering are necessary and not evil. Try telling that to a human with finite time preferences and no faith...

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 2:27 PM  

>I understand why people accept other mortals as their authorities concerning things they cannot know. I did when I was younger, too.

It's completely rational to defer to experts on subjects you just don't have the time or interest to learn. You'd think people would get more skeptical of expert opinion when 1) it's a subject they really happen to care a lot about and 2) any way you slice it, almost everyone throughout history must have been completely wrong.

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 2:29 PM  

>Ah. That's not quite what it means. The primary definition is "of or relating to a god, especially the Supreme Being." Which, by your own description, it would be.

Fair enough. I did stumble over that word a bit when looking for the right one.

Blogger James Dixon November 28, 2017 2:33 PM  

> Fair enough. I did stumble over that word a bit when looking for the right one.

Understandable. We all do that on occasion.

Anonymous tublecane November 28, 2017 2:34 PM  

I don't know about the studies of one Sam Harris, but if he thinks science can discover the moral law, he's probably not over bothered reading much moral philosophy, and is unaware of the vast library of thought on the subject.

Or, if he is, he's swept it aside because he's going with the safe bet, which is the current cultural winning team (if you happen to be a decadent, modern white person). Intellectuals chucking out millennia of thought is a thing now.

Blogger darrenl November 28, 2017 2:34 PM  

"A Creator God-defined morality can be described as arbitrary, but it cannot be described as subjective. If God had defined murder as good, then an act of murder would be good, in exactly the same way that if the NFL defines a pass that goes out of bounds incomplete, then the pass is incomplete even if the receiver clearly caught it."

I think that is falling on one of the horns of Euthyphro, is it not.

Heres a propsal that i think us stronger. The command of not murdering flows from God's nature. Since the nature of God is goodness itself, then what flows from that nature must be good.

Of course, if you replaced what I quoted from you with the word "kill" instead of "murder", I would tend to agree as those are two totally different acts.

Blogger Metric November 28, 2017 2:35 PM  

>That is why, in the unlikely circumstance that human consciousness could be loaded into a computer, you should most definitely decline to let your consciousness be transferred. How, from outside of the machine, could you determine who was running it and whether or not they were malevolent?

For the exact reasons you give, I wouldn't want to live in a simulated reality one level down. However, I can imagine a computer with the same (or better) degree of control and interaction with physical surroundings that a human brain has.

Blogger Koanic November 28, 2017 2:37 PM  

Hmm. But is there, in Christianity, a universal moral law? Sounds inflexible. Rather, there is the person of Jesus Christ.

That resolves the apparent contradictions between Jehovah having the power to set moral law arbitrarily, and our non-arbitrary innate sense of what is good. I am not sure Jehovah can "arbitrarily" change Jesus' nature. Certainly that metaphor breaks down when applied to the begotten Son instead of some verbal pronouncement, thereby losing the emotional force that renders it objectionable.

I am just softening the collateral damage of an argument aimed at atheists falling upon Christian ears.

Anonymous tublecane November 28, 2017 2:37 PM  

I don't really see what science would have to do with it, except that people hear the word "objective," and think, "Hey, science is supposed to be objective," and leave the train of thought there.

Meanwhile, important Truth-hunting disciplines like logic, mathematics, and philosophy don't use the scientific method. Either because they can't or because both they don't need to. But in our culture they possess less cachet and certainly less money.

Anonymous Jack November 28, 2017 2:50 PM  

The reason that he cannot understand why the existence of God and objective morality are related is that he has a false understanding of God.
His understanding of God is what academics refer to as "theistic personalism", which is more or less that God is a "person" like you or I, albeit an infinitely more exalted one.

This is what leads him to say: "If the 10 commandments just come down from God and are dictated to us, without us having any say, then isn't that subjective morality, because then morality is just whatever God says it is?"

He thinks God is just another person, another subject that has his own likes and dislikes, his own "values."

Vox Day himself seems to have this false understanding of God, when he says: " If God had defined murder as good, then an act of murder would be good."
No, God is not just another person who can arbitrarily decide for himself what is good and what is evil, and merely impose his own definitions tyrannically upon us because of his greater power. Rather, God is the infinite and supreme Goodness itself, which is why it is impossible for Him to call evil (such as murder) good, because it is contrary to His nature. To understand why the existence of God and objective morality are intimately related, we have to go back to the classical understanding of God as the Summum Bonum, the highest and universal uncreated Good, in which all lesser, finite, and created goods participate.

VD says, "Groggy's problem is that he is unconsciously assuming a deeper concept of good by which the objective standard itself is to be judged." But Groggy is perfectly RIGHT to make that kind of assumption, i.e. to look for a deeper or a higher good, i.e. a Summum Bonum, by which all lesser goods can be objectively measured. His problem is in failing to realise that God is Himself this Highest Good.

Anonymous tublecane November 28, 2017 2:51 PM  

@23-"It's impossible for Christian God to be good since it has never been in a position where his actions would have any impact of any sort on him"

You do know what Christianity is, don't you? The whole point is that God put himself in a position to suffer in his own created world. (Or His son, anyway, Who is Himself, because trinity.)

Anyway, I don't see why it's necessary for God's being liable to the consequences of His own decisions would prevent Him from being good.

Blogger S1AL November 28, 2017 2:53 PM  

'No, God is not just another person who can arbitrarily decide for himself what is good and what is evil, and merely impose his own definitions tyrannically upon us because of his greater power.'

Ah, yes, the classic "best of all possible worlds" error.

Blogger Jack Collinson November 28, 2017 2:59 PM  

See Aquinas' Fourth Way:

"The fourth way is taken from the gradation to be found in things. Among beings there are some more and some less good, true, noble and the like. But "more" and "less" are predicated of different things, according as they resemble in their different ways something which is the maximum, as a thing is said to be hotter according as it more nearly resembles that which is hottest; so that there is something which is truest, something best, something noblest and, consequently, something which is uttermost being; for those things that are greatest in truth are greatest in being, as it is written in Metaph. ii. Now the maximum in any genus is the cause of all in that genus; as fire, which is the maximum heat, is the cause of all hot things. Therefore there must also be something which is to all beings the cause of their being, goodness, and every other perfection; and this we call God."

God is not a detached onlooker deciding what is good and what is evil. God is the Supreme Goodness itself and the cause of goodness in all things that exist. God loves Himself with an infinitely love because He is infinitely good, and loves all things other than Himself because they all participate, in varying degrees, in His goodness. The problem is that we rational creatures with our corrupt natures are able of acting in opposition to the goodness of God and the order of nature, which is what we call moral evil.

Anonymous AB.Prosper November 28, 2017 3:02 PM  

What person with any wits about them would accept an argument that an objective moral system exists outside of the existence of the Divine

You can have a monotheist system, a polytheist system, a pantheist system or some other variation but without some theist in the works, morality cannot be objective, it has to be imposed by said forces otherwise is something humans made up.



Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 3:09 PM  

@ AB, the pantheistic gods are generally marked by tales of capricious behavior they are judged in the myths according to a HIGHER standard than themselves. Was Zeus the measure of objective morality in the Greek Pantheon? Was Marduk? No.

Anonymous tublecane November 28, 2017 3:14 PM  

@94-It wouldn't really matter, because your consciousness wouldn't be you.

It'd be like writing a few lines on a piece of paper, then handing them over to a madman. Okay, the madman may do unspeakable things to that piece of paper, but who cares? It's just paper.

Blogger Jack Collinson November 28, 2017 3:15 PM  

Which is why Plato was for getting rid of the petty deities altogether and for worshipping the One, the Good.

Blogger RC November 28, 2017 3:17 PM  

"Welcome to 3rd grade, boys. Who's got the paste, paper and scissors?

We had paste but Crazy Horse ate it."

Take away the safety scissors and give him the pointy-tipped version.

Anonymous tublecane November 28, 2017 3:18 PM  

@86-I don't see the appropriateness or necessity of thinking of it referring to someone who created a simulation of reality in which one might live as anything like a god.

Blogger Koanic November 28, 2017 3:32 PM  

> It'd be like writing a few lines on a piece of paper, then handing them over to a madman.

How does your spirit know to stay attached to your brain? It must be like how water stays in a cup. But what if suddenly there are two cups with no wall between? What if you wire two brains together? Or swap hemispheres? Better keep your upload to yourself, lest you find yourself without a mouth and needing to scream.

Blogger Ron Winkleheimer November 28, 2017 3:32 PM  

@111

Good point, but it would think it was me and I would feel responsible for it. Fred Saberhagen touches on this issue briefly in his Berserker series. Humans upload their consciousness into spaceships in order to fight sapient interstellar killing machines. In one of the stories the point is made that the original still died, perhaps thinking about living on as a starship.

Anonymous AB.Prosper November 28, 2017 3:48 PM  

Arthur Isaac wrote:@ AB, the pantheistic gods are generally marked by tales of capricious behavior they are judged in the myths according to a HIGHER standard than themselves. Was Zeus the measure of objective morality in the Greek Pantheon? Was Marduk? No.

True but the Bible is full of behavior that sounds capricious as well . That's usually chocked up to lack of understanding in Christianity though.

Also Hinduism has a moral code, its not a efficient as the Christian one but it is there and it was set up by the Gods

Blogger William Meisheid November 28, 2017 3:55 PM  

Crazy Horse wrote:"God is the standard of good and since murder is evil, he won't command you to do it."

LOL...It's impossible for the Christian god to be good since it has never been in a position where his actions would have any impact of any sort on him.


You are showing your profound ignorance of Christianity here, since in creating man and allowing him to fall (sin), yet redeeming that fall, it required the cross, the Son to die, the moment of eternal forsakeness while the debt of sin was paid, in which the Son experienced the totality of Hell for all sin.

God consigning unrepentant sinners to Hell is only sending them to experience what He himself already has.

Your ignorance is abysmal.

Anonymous Cadwallander J November 28, 2017 4:02 PM  

Atheists are always good for a laugh.

. For you, the ten commandments really were carried down the mountain by Moses. We simply regard them as behavioral standards developed by society to reduce conflict and thereby promote survival.

For you atheists who argue that the ten commandments were evolved morality, here's the first commandment:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. Then read the next three.

Congratulations, you've argued that we evolved to worship God, observe His Sabbath day, hold His name holy, and make no graven images that might supplant Him.

Blogger IMPERIAL ENERGY November 28, 2017 4:10 PM  

Daily reader of your blog VD and enjoy your observations.

You write:

""Now, if "the fundamental principles of right conduct" are not mere legalities, enactment, or custom, then they must be objective, for the obvious reason that if the standard for right conduct is subjective, then no such standard exists, not being a fundamental principle. Morality not only is not subjective, it cannot be subjective, because a subjective fundamental principle is both an oxymoron and an actual contradiction in terms."

VD in the comments writes: "Morality is akin to mathematics. It is something fundamental to be discovered, not a construct that is developed."

Well, here is an Oxford philosopher, Derek Parfit, who has written two fat books on ethics and thinks, like Vox, that morality is "akin to mathematics" but has completely different (metaethical and practical) conclusions:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTUrwO9-B_I

Parfit thinks that moral facts are (quoting from memory) "non-naturalist, non-metaphysical objective reasons".

While my mathematics and philosopher friend did say that there are some mathematicians who would deny 2+2=4, we see no way of denying that statement without lapsing into nonsense. The same is not true of any moral axiom, principle or rule.

What IS may not BE.

As Hume said: “Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world than the scratching of my finger.”

Vox Day thinks that moral truths come from God, While Parfit is a secular rationalist.

In the video, Parfit says that he has “no moral reason” to prevent (Africans) from taking his wealth.

This is a self-defeating conclusion because the consequence of this line of thought, if fully realized, would remove not only the necessary conditions for Parfit to have led such a privileged life but the conditions for the production of wealth itself - wealth which keeps the Africans from (mostly) dying in the first place.
Thus, Derek Parfit disappears in a puff of logic.

POOF!

Vox Day, however, would hold a completely different view. The point is that the wide gulf between these two men, despite having a rationalist view of ethics, is better explained by the claim that there are no universal, rationally obligatory, rules of right and wrong.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 28, 2017 4:22 PM  

"it has to be imposed by said forces otherwise is something humans made up."

That's precisely the problem. Errant humans try to recreate God in our own image, like a roman Emperor, whose laws are capricious, arbitrary and require consequences to be imposed be force.

That's not the Creator that Christians (ought to) worship, although many of them HAVE accepted the model unthinkingly.

God's morality is baked into existence. It's not imposed from outside, it's the design principles by which all reality was bought into being.

You can no more break the moral laws without consequence than you can break the physical laws without consequence.

As I wrote above, when you jump off the Empire State Building, GOD IS NOT KILLING YOU!

When you break the moral laws by which all life operates, and you die, GOD IS NOT KILLING YOU!

The idea that consequences have to be imposed by force makes God just a quasi-monotheistic version of the Greek pantheon: just like us but with MOAR POWER.

Big deal.

THat's OUR laws; arbitrary, capricious, and without inherent consequence.

The Designer/Creator's laws are VERY different; the consequences are inherent in the act.

Or, in other words:

"The wages of sin is death!"

Death is the inherent consequence of sin, every bit as much as it is the inherent consequence of jumping off the Empire State Building, and it is SIN that pays this wage, not God.

By the starkest possible contrast, the text continues:

"BUT! the gift of God is eternal life."

The principle is very simple, it is a testament to the subtlety of the Devil that so few Christians know it:

Sin is a claim to being able to live contrary to the character of God, to be able to live a life of your own rather than the life God designed you for. Thus it separates you from God who is the ONLY source of life, because God does not force even life itself on anyone. Hence, you die. (It is thus literally true: death is the wage of sin.)

Life is a gift. The only way to keep it is to operate it according to the design principles inherent in it, as put there by the Designer/Creator.

Do know why no synod or gathering of bishops ever took a vote to change the value of gravity from 9.8m/s/s to 7.2m/s/s?

Because they know that's impossible; gravity is an inherent property of our existence.

But they took a vote to change the laws of God because they think/thought God is like a roman Emperor, and his laws like Caesars laws; arbitrary, capricious, imposed, without inherent consequence.

That is why they insist that God MUST punish sinners; because they don't know / won't admit that sin punishes sinners.

Anonymous GM November 28, 2017 4:35 PM  

Vox,

Did the Creator God build the moral law into the natural order, so that someone rationally investigating that natural order can discover (maybe only some aspects of) the moral law? Or does the is/ought distinction blow that out?

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Fine Purveyor of Quality Artisanal Gorm ) November 28, 2017 4:49 PM  

49. Resident Moron™ November 28, 2017 12:33 PM
John’s gonna be *pissed*, tho!



John used to be an atheist and wrote professionally while still adhering to that philosophy.

Raw Cringe may be unaware of the change.

regardless, i doubt that John will take much offense unless RC keeps trying to assert the former position after having been informed that John is now of the latter.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 28, 2017 5:15 PM  

"Your ignorance is abysmal."

Abyssal.

@bob kek

I should have emoji'd it :)

Blogger RC November 28, 2017 5:49 PM  

GM,

I don't know if Vox is still watching this thread but this might help as God wrote the law on our hearts:

RO 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15 since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 6:03 PM  

@ A.B. My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways (Isaiah 55:8). The Bible repeatedly flies into our teeth on how we are changing and that He is not. This is in keeping with the idea that we are dealing with an infinite God whose existence is above our understanding. The fact that the Bible doesn't try to comprehensively explain the holy/alien nature of the Creator of the Universe is one of the things that convinces me that it's true. If I could EVER understand everything about this Creator I'd be terrified of the infinite boredom that awaits in eternity. Either He is infinite and inscrutable or we are in for Hell on an unimaginable scale. That I don't understand Him doesn't make Him capricious it makes me so (and I am glad for it).

Anonymous AB.Prosper November 28, 2017 6:31 PM  

Resident Moron™ wrote:As I wrote above, when you jump off the Empire State Building, GOD IS NOT KILLING YOU!

When you break the moral laws by which all life operates, and you die, GOD IS NOT KILLING YOU


That's not logical.

If I was saw Jigsaw from the Saw movies and set a situation where only certain decisions moral and technical resulted in your survival I would be fully responsible if you died.

You can say "God made everything , his planet, his rules." if you like or "God doesn't play by human rules" but if rules someone made result in your death or eternal torture yes God is responsible since he clearly has the ability to change the rules and he set them as well. Right down to fruit of knowledge. If you don't want people eating it, instead of setting traps with a talking snake he also created just don't include it

If he is a blind watchmaker God like the Deists why would he be angry about two queers shagging or somebody eating shrimp (granted a rule that changed) anyway.

He either care or he doesn't and If he both punitive and blind than he's arbitrary like most Gods are or just incomprehensible and we'd better hope the translation of the Bible we have is the accurate path out of a madhouse created by a very inhuman divinity

Anonymous Ominous Cowherd November 28, 2017 6:52 PM  

Azure Amaranthine wrote:"God will prove there is no Crazy Horse."

Will?


Will. There will be no Crazy Horse long before there is no God. God will prove Crazy's absence with a corpse.

The fool says in his heart, ``there is no God,'' and is wrong. God says ``there is no fool,'' and behold, the fool is no more.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 6:55 PM  

@A.B. It's all a set-up. "Yet a man is born to trouble as surely as sparks travel upwards" (Job 5:7)

That God has a purpose that incompatible with our creature comforts doesn't make Him deficient. We manifestly have parameters, yes that's a set up. Do you let your 5 year old drive the family SUV? If you did would that make you "good" or "bad"? If you can't make your 5 year old understand the dangers of them driving an SUV does that make you a tyrant?

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 6:58 PM  

If you don't want people eating it, instead of setting traps with a talking snake he also created just don't include it.

"Don't touch the stove, it's hot". *proceeds to watch child touch the stove.....

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 7:00 PM  

BTW, it wasn't the tree that was the problem in the garden, it was that God made us in His image. The hot stove was in our hearts not in the fruit on the tree. We're dangerous to ourselves because He made us like Him.

Anonymous AB.Prosper November 28, 2017 7:07 PM  

Arthur Isaac wrote:@A.B. It's all a set-up. "Yet a man is born to trouble as surely as sparks travel upwards" (Job 5:7)

That God has a purpose that incompatible with our creature comforts doesn't make Him deficient. We manifestly have parameters, yes that's a set up. Do you let your 5 year old drive the family SUV? If you did would that make you "good" or "bad"? If you can't make your 5 year old understand the dangers of them driving an SUV does that make you a tyrant?


Great Job quote. I need that for my wall.

I'm not a God or the God besides an SUV has a clear comprehensible purpose to me. A magic knowledge apple does not at least to a human and nor would I tolerate anyone from trying to encourage my child to drive the family car if I had the power to stop it even if I was crazy enough to think it would be a good lesson for the kid somehow

Now if you want to make an argument that it was meant to be eaten later, I'm game but its not really Biblically supported.

Regardless many of the arguments the New Atheists proffer are weak and show a lot of lack of understanding the source material, the context and maybe an outright unwillingness to engage with it. Sad.

All that aside, the quote from Isiah 55:8 says much. We don't get it. That's good enough for me and I accept that without any question.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 7:23 PM  

It's not my blog.

When God made us in His image we were in for trouble. We're learning how to deal with this nature within the parameters of this reality. We are not God's yet we have free-will and can act it out in a consequential manner in a universe that allows us pain and pleasure. We don't have the keys to the SUV yet as we haven't yet learned not to touch the hot stove. Is this all confusing? Of course it is, we're children (Matthew 18:3).

Anonymous Dorm Room Dave November 28, 2017 7:27 PM  

"By definition, any law is the expression of a lawgiver. Gravity has a law, and you may attribute that law to Nature or to the Creator or to space turtles, but you can't ascribe it to nothing."

This is pure reification. Gravity is not necessarily a "law," (viz. a human conception) it could be quite as easily described as an observable constant, or absent human observation at all, simply what is. It certainly does not require a Lawgiver. Is there a "law" that when things are alive, they are alive, and then when after they are no longer alive, they are dead? Law is stretching things. Reality does not require laws (it may of course actually have them), but for the purposes of human argumentation, it does not require them. To say that Logic Decrees That All Laws Must (By Logic) Require A Lawgiver is to a) stretch the definition of what a "law" actually is, and b) enroll in the Ministry of Silly Walks.

Careful with that axiom, Eugene.

Blogger DEPLORABLILITY November 28, 2017 7:33 PM  

Christ did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 7:35 PM  

A.B I'd argue that it is supported. The snake wasn't lying when he said it would make us like God. We get to decide for ourselves what is good and bad......that is we are completely subjective. In order for this to happen we had to be cut off from God else His very presence would prevent us from choosing evil. The "magic" apple revelation is being played out every day man wakes up on this planet and decides for himself what is right. It's a choice God insists we make as His stated purpose was to make us in His image (able to choose). Romans 8 says that He made us subject to vanity (this "madhouse" world) in the hope that He would be rewarded with Son's. He's playing a long game.

Blogger DEPLORABLILITY November 28, 2017 7:48 PM  

Read Watchman Nee The Latent power of the Soul, then you can begin to see the reality of what you are speaking of.

Blogger SirHamster November 28, 2017 8:27 PM  

((( bob kek mando ))) - ( Fine Purveyor of Quality Artisanal Gorm ) wrote:regardless, i doubt that John will take much offense unless RC keeps trying to assert the former position after having been informed that John is now of the latter.

I don't see why he will take offense. Atheists like John C Wright end up becoming (Catholic) Christians.

Blogger SirHamster November 28, 2017 8:29 PM  

AB.Prosper wrote:If I was saw Jigsaw from the Saw movies and set a situation where only certain decisions moral and technical resulted in your survival I would be fully responsible if you died.

The architect, engineers and builders who put a window on a tall building are guilty of murder if and when anyone falls out of it to their death.

Ban windows.

Blogger Groggy November 28, 2017 8:57 PM  

There is a lot to mull over here with lots of insightful comments.

One thing is for sure, it is a very foundational question of the highest seriousness which some atheists seem to treat in a cavalier and off-hand way which does not do it justice.

Blogger Lazarus November 28, 2017 9:23 PM  

I think there needs to be some reference in this discussion to the differences between Moral Universalism, Moral Realism, and Moral Absolutism.

Like here:

http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_moral_universalism.html

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 28, 2017 10:19 PM  

"if rules someone made result in your death or eternal torture"

The rules don't result in that.

Your willful violation of the rules results in that.

It's precisely the same as saying that it's not Gravity's fault you died by jumping off a building. Gravity IS what it is, and you decided to violate it. Gravity did not choose to kill you, gravity is simply doing what it does. You decided to kill you.

"The point is that the wide gulf between these two men, despite having a rationalist view of ethics, is better explained by the claim that there are no universal, rationally obligatory, rules of right and wrong."

"Because two people disagree about something, it doesn't exist."

You're too short for this ride.

"Better keep your upload to yourself, lest you find yourself without a mouth and needing to scream."

What if your screaming is transferring kernel data from your upload to other peoples' uploads?

But yes, I agree, the real-world results at attempts of brain-swappage, mental uploads, and disintegration/replication teleportation are all inevitable fridge horror factories for anyone who isn't a pure materialistic Atheist.

"Vox Day himself seems to have this false understanding of God, when he says: " If God had defined murder as good, then an act of murder would be good.""

No, Vox is actually a few steps ahead of you.

God, being both the supreme being and the complete-creator of all that humans are and experience, would actually be correct in being solipsistic (it's more like he's logically indistinguishable from a perfect solipsistic entity from our perspectives).

If God -- being the essence of good, the source of good, and the creator, delineator and definer of good -- says something is good, it's good, because his will is manifest reality. To attempt to subject God to morality is to miss that morality is a manifestation of God.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 28, 2017 10:21 PM  

To put it another way, A.B. Prosper, I think you can observe that if a human does not respire he will die.

If he then chooses not to breathe and manages to follow through on that choice, it is not the fault of oxygen that he has died. It is his own wilful severance from the very source of his life that has killed him.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 28, 2017 10:30 PM  

"The snake wasn't lying when he said it would make us like God. We get to decide for ourselves what is good and bad......that is we are completely subjective."

If this were the case, the results of our choosing other-than-God would not necessarily be death. Our attempts at choosing between good and evil are every bit as inevitably incomplete as Satan's.

Like Satan, we can tell ourselves that we have the capacity to define what is good for ourselves, but such is clearly not the case. We do have to capacity to choose between good and evil, but not the capacity to define them.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 28, 2017 11:02 PM  

Like Satan, we can tell ourselves that we have the capacity to define what is good for ourselves, but such is clearly not the case. We do have to capacity to choose between good and evil, but not the capacity to define them.

He left the part out that we aren't sovereign and that being cut loose in our delusions would be a living Hell.

Anonymous Jack Amok November 28, 2017 11:10 PM  

“Gravity is just as arbitrary, but it is not subjective.”

This.

Almost.


No, not almost. Exactly. But also not really the main point of my comment.

Anonymous Didas Kalos November 28, 2017 11:35 PM  

The extreme ignorance of the Word of God in about 90% of the comments above is mind boggling. I wish I had time to dissect a few of the more Crazy Horse type (LOL), but have much work to do. God is not just a 'higher level of being' as some have stated accurately. He is GOD! All powerful, all knowing, all Good. God is Love!
Jesus did pay the price for our sin. All of it. Everyone's individual sins as well as SIN. Adam was not a 'child' when God told him to 'don't eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.' Adam knew full well what he was doing. Full Well!
There is no person who has any excuse nor any plea when they stand before God Almighty on judgment day. None whatsoever. Except the precious blood of Jesus Christ which he shed on Calvary for us.
Men loved darkness rather than light pretty much sums it up Rabbi B. :)
Later.
Oh, most commentators should spend the 80 hours required to read the Bible through. 2-3 times with prayer and a repentant heart, then come back and comment. 100% guarantee your comments will be different. God gives grace to the humble, but he resists the proud. He is close to those of a contrite heart. He knows the proud afar off.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 29, 2017 12:02 AM  

@Didas Kalos Full well? I would agree that Adam was fully culpable and the Bible says that he was not deceived like Eve. God did ask him though "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat? Begging the question that there was a certain amount of innocence before the fall. God constructed a situation to expose Adams fallibility.

I would also point that the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the World (in anticipation of the Fall) and that it was God Himself who made Creation subject to vanity (Romans 8:20). So that we could be what?

Oh, most commentators should spend the 80 hours required to read the Bible through. 2-3 times with prayer and a repentant heart, then come back and comment. 100% guarantee your comments will be different. God gives grace to the humble, but he resists the proud. He is close to those of a contrite heart. He knows the proud afar off.

The irony...

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 29, 2017 12:14 AM  

AB

There was no magic consciousness altering fruit.

They already had a knowledge of Good; they walked and talked with Him daily. What the act of disbelief in that goodness gave them was the knowledge of evil.

The verb “to know” denotes a deep intimate experience (of evil, in this case), just as “Adam KNEW Eve, and she bare a son”.

God always knew both good and evil because he knows the end from the beginning. He sees the principle in the act (the ancients’ definition of highest wisdom, btw) and he sees that principle fully developed.

It was the disbelief in good that was evil, and the act is merely the visible evidence of the spiritual condition, the decision to disbelieve good and believe evil.

For as our Lord himself spoke:

“from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. Out of the heart proceed lies, murders and adulteries.”

Objections about magic fruit, AND argument in favor of magic fruit, are equally irrelevant. They show only that one has not at all understood.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 29, 2017 12:33 AM  

@ Resident Moron. God made the fruit, not Adam.

Blogger Beau November 29, 2017 12:46 AM  

Oh, most commentators should spend the 80 hours required to read the Bible through. 2-3 times with prayer and a repentant heart, then come back and comment. 100% guarantee your comments will be different. God gives grace to the humble, but he resists the proud. He is close to those of a contrite heart. He knows the proud afar off.

The irony...

Yet still excellent advice.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 29, 2017 12:59 AM  

Arthur

Thanks. I’ve been so confused about this for so long.

Anonymous AB.Prosper November 29, 2017 1:01 AM  

SirHamster wrote:The architect, engineers and builders who put a window on a tall building are guilty of murder if and when anyone falls out of it to their death.

Ban windows.


Again architects, engineers and builders are not God even if some of them think so. They work with what God created and are subject to its rules

God is the rules.

You see the difference?

Since God doesn't want men to fly with innate wings or by willpower alone , we don't have that capacity.

This suggest that God in fact wanted failure and hell as an option for his children. He created the snake, he gave it leave to speak and if you are the creator of the universe and you don't want people you created to know good and evil logic dictates don't leave the knowledge of evil lying around or let a stupid snake you created tempt them.

Now I do want to say I have throughly enjoyed this conversation, I don't get to talk theology with generally smart people very often or learn something from it.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 29, 2017 1:04 AM  

Glad to clear it up for you Moron. Apparently God is only sovereign when it suits the Theological Cemetarians.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 29, 2017 1:44 AM  

AB

People are not plants.

Unlike the Muslim conception of God, love requires choice. The choice has to be real.

God is as bound by logic as any of us.

He’s just better at it than we are.

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 29, 2017 1:47 AM  

Unlike the Muslim conception of God, love requires choice. The choice has to be real.

Tell that to the TULIP Calvanist.

Blogger Sam Spade November 29, 2017 3:40 AM  

Philosophy posts are my favourites by Vox. Great comment section also. God bless you all.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 29, 2017 3:57 AM  

I’m not in the habit of apologizing for other people’s heresies.

Calviism’s god is a monster.

Blogger Azure Amaranthine November 29, 2017 4:43 AM  

"Calviism’s god is a monster."

That's what happens when you project your human failings on your god. Man trying to create gods in his own image... always goes poorly. Just like ancient people and their graven images, or modern techno-cultists and their fervent belief in a singularity post which their self-made true A.I. fulfill their every desire.

Blogger Resident Moron™ November 29, 2017 4:55 AM  

That’s an incredibly stupid position.

I could quite happily kill all of you. Fortunately I am not God and nor is he made in my image.

Blogger SirHamster November 29, 2017 5:29 PM  

AB.Prosper wrote:Again architects, engineers and builders are not God even if some of them think so. They work with what God created and are subject to its rules

God is the rules.


Knowing that gravity can kill, it is murder for architects, engineers, and builders to place windows where there is a combination of actions that a person can take that will result in his plummeting death.

They are fully responsible. If you will excuse them, you must excuse God.

And funnily enough, here you are excusing them ...


AB.Prosper wrote:This suggest that God in fact wanted failure and hell as an option for his children.

Humans don't make idiot-proof anything. You do not hold them responsible. But you believe God must make an idiot-proof universe in order to be innocent? You're not the first to float a double standard where God must be judged by a higher standard than man ... but that requires a reference point to justify the hypocrisy.

Perhaps there is a universe where it is impossible to sin; is it possible for that to sinless universe to have goodness in it? Perhaps there is no heaven in a universe with no hell; is that better?

Have you ruled out that you are asking for fried ice?

Blogger Arthur Isaac November 29, 2017 9:45 PM  

@SirHamster My question is would the universe you describe not be defeating God's stated purpose? That He wanted to make man in His image. Which I would argue would mean precisely the reality we find ourselves in, a place and time to choose.

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