God Doesn't Work

If a baby dies he goes to Heaven.
But if he grows up his chances are reduced considerably.
Since Hell is such a very long time, why take any chances?
He might just grow up and learn to think.
[From a new Blog by Mark Cote].
Along the same lines, see this.

34 comments:

Daniel said...

As sick as it is, the common Calvinist objection (I've heard Manata state it explicitly) is that "there is no guarantee that infants are elected" and thus abortion doesn't prevent hellbound souls, after all...

Yeah, some God they worship.

Francois Tremblay said...

That baby looks muchos disturbing.

Finrod said...

It was a lot funnier when National Lampoon did it (which this rips off). Why not, "Confess Christ or I shoot the baby?" Now, that's funny.

Killing babies (whether through abortion or infanticide) would be a wonderfully effective mode of evangelism - except that God says no murdering. If I were an atheist, though, I think Pete Seeger's philosophy would be reasonable, don't you? Why not breed just to harvest? There is absolutely no reason not to.

Paul Manata said...

That's right Danny, that's the comeback. And, logically, that's the defeater to this argument.

Also, even if they all did go to heaven that would not mean that I am allowed to violate God's laws to send 'em there. That is a ends justifys the means mentality and it is false.

Lastly, now you're finally gettin' it. I don't believe in Christianity because it makes me feel all warm -n- fuzzy inside. Furthermore, your point is evidence that people didn't just make Christianity up to give them a pie in the sky bye and bye religion.

So, while you take your ad hominems against God remember what your ole bloggin buddy, Dan Barker has to say about that:

"A strong clue that a person argues from a weak position is that character, rather than content, is addressed." -Barker, Loosing Faith in Faith, p.22

Lonnie said...

John,

I have been reading Debunking Christianity for several weeks, mainly becaue a loved one of mine has joined your team, and I just wanted to keep up with them.

I'm afraid, however, that after seeing this post, I'm going to have to stop visiting the site. That's too bad. There have been a few good questions raised here, and my relationship with Christ is stronger now because they have helped me dig deeper into what I believe. If this post is indicative of the heart of this blog, though, I must move on. There is nothing enlightening about it.

I would think (and hope) that you would have learned something from the type of Christians you have so much trouble with: it's far better to be known by what you are "for" than by what you are "against." It is one of the reasons why Christians who politicize their faith have been so collossally ineffective in swaying "public opinion." (That, and the fact that following Christ is not something the "public" can't do, only an individual.)

It is because I am for loving, honest, truthful discourse that deepens our understanding of ourselves that I have to choose to stop frequenting this blog. My time is too valuable to spend it, long-term, on posts such as this. I wanted to write you in hopes that you will see that this particular post marks you much more than it marks the "religion" you are trying to debunk. Again, I've seen too many christians resort to this kind of cold-hearted satire. It marks their souls and is never really effective. My heart has broken for them, much as it breaks for you now.

You can respond if you like. I will probably check back one more time to see what you have to say. I won't debate the point any further, though. This post isn't really about debate, anyway. It's more of a propaganda piece...that is...it uses an horrific image in an attempt to link the "horrific sensation" to that which it opposes. It's a communications tactic that most reputable PR firms would avoid at all costs, by the way. I hope you can see that and learn from it.

Regards,
Lonnie

Mark Cote said...

Mike, Thanks for commenting!

I think your missing the point of this.

Here's the theme in a nut-shell.

Lets say you were a person in hell, wouldn't you wish someone did whatever it took to get to heaven, even kill you at birth? If it's true that this life on earth is just a *blink* compared to eternity. Being killed as an infant would be infinitely better than an eternity in hell.

I really didn't consider the "Elect" issue when I created it, but that is an extremely interesting twist that I'll admit I missed. I come from a stone cambell background, so that concept, that of the "Elect" is a bit foreign to me, and might I add, must be really hard to reconcile with the bible.

Thanks again!

John W. Loftus said...

Lonnie, there have been just two instances of us here using this kind of satire to bring home a point, and both of them are linked in what I posted. Just two. Compared with the number of times we blog here that's really a small ratio. www.godis4suckers does it all of the time.

Consider visual pictures like these as an attempt to shock some Christians into seeing the full implications of what they believe, just like anti-abortionists do with their visuals of aborted fetuses.

There is an argument behind the picture. What do you think and why?

My post is also an advertisement to Mark Cote's blog. Those who want to see more of the same can link there.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Doesn't God know which baby is going to be naughty or nice when he grows up?

Mark Cote said...

Lonnie, it always surprises me when a Christian “averts his eyes” to something he considers horrific and violent, yet can come out of a movie such as The Passion of Christ, with tears of laud and magnitude for a God who orchestrated the deed.

Please don’t forget that “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!” passage. You are bound to say praise Jesus for that one.

My hope is that instead of knee-jerking from the obvious horror implicit in my art, being that it is confronting an idea you hold sacred, you give it a chance.

But I know that’s not how it works in the world of faith.

kc said...

Paul & Lonnie:

My mother was a Baptist and her religion taught that children were not "of age" until about 10 or so. If I remember correctly, this meant that if a child below that age died, it was an automatic pass to heaven.

With that in mind - wouldn't it be "correct" of like-minded believers to kill a child while they're under this automatic protection from hell?

I think that's the point of the picture and though it doesn't apply to all brands of Christianity - it is undeniably applicable to some of them.

Paul Manata said...

KC,

No, because your mother's belief was wrong.

Secondly, your mother does not have the *right* to murder people. Ends-means is not a God-ordained right in this instance.

So, the double-edged sword is that [1] they would not be "saving" any more soles than God has already chosen to save and [2] even if they were right and I was wrong, it's not a biblically warranted life-taking action, thus it's the unjust taking of life, hence, murder.

Just face it, this is a *bad* argument. Why not drop it? Aren't atheist's about reason first, and saving face second? I mean you left the faith since it didn't provide cogent reasons for believing it, what's so hard about dropping this argument for the same reason?


And, http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/07/that-funky-white-boy.html

evanmay said...

that concept, that of the "Elect" is a bit foreign to me, and might I add, must be really hard to reconcile with the bible.

What Bible have you been reading?

Romans 8-9? John 6? John 8? John 10? Eph 1?

John W. Loftus said...

Evanmay, Mark was surely speaking of not understanding the Calvinistic notion of election, coming from the Stone-Campbell movement, as I did. He's not saying he doesn't understand the Arminian viewpoint on election.

kc said...

Paul,

I think you forgot a part of your sentence:

No, because your mother's belief was wrong in light of my version, Calvinism, which teaches that humanity is depraved, incapable of seeking (or gaining) salvation unless they are elected by God for salvation.*

Which is sort of the point I was trying to make. The argument is 'bad' only if used against Calvinism specifically as Calvinists (and some other sects) reject the grace period. The argument, if you will, still stands against Christians who believe there is a period of grace wherein Hell is not an option. One can reasonably argue that it is morally justifable to kill someone - like children under a grace period - in order to ensure they escape Hell no matter how 'icky' it makes believers feel. Hell is taught as a fate worse than death and that the mere rejection of this god is reason enough to get you sent there.

As for dropping it- no. Even when I was a believer I realized it does present a moral problem in light of a belief in a grace period. If God's going to send my daughter to hell if she rejects him after hitting that magical age - why not kill her now at four and save her from Hell when she's six, seven or ten (all ages when most sects will declare her responsible for "sin")? It's not biblically justifiable? Sorry, but that's the coward's way in my honest opinion as I was taught that the correct choice isn't necessarily the good choice (refraining from an action because the Bible doesn't explicitly condone it ranks as a 'good' choice in my book).

*I've assumed by your response to Daniel Morgan you're a Calvinist, apologies if this is not so.

John W. Loftus said...

Of course, Calvinism has it's own problems.

evanmay said...

Evanmay, Mark was surely speaking of not understanding the Calvinistic notion of election, coming from the Stone-Campbell movement, as I did. He's not saying he doesn't understand the Arminian viewpoint on election.

John, regardless of the "Arminian viewpoint on election," there's what the text says.

Paul Manata said...

KC,

Oh, so your mom didn't believe that humanity was "depraved?' In that case, why shoot anyone? We're all going to heaven, us non-depraved humans as it were.

Sheesh, read a Bible.

"Incapable" of seeking or gaining salvation? What Bible have you been reading? It's not "my interpretation" that said, "NO ONE *CAN* come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." "Can" denotes ability and the logical structure p unless q is properly translated q --> p, thus denoting a *necessity.* Why is it *necessary* that God draws? Well, since man is not *able* to come on his own. So, that wasn't *my* interpretation, that was Jesus' words. So, who cares what me or your mom thinks? Jesus is the standard.

Now, the argument is bad as an argument regardless who it's given against. One cannot argue that it is morally justifiable to kill someone unless they have an authorotative standard of justifiable homicide. God has not revealed that this is an allowable case of homicide, that is, a just case. Therefore it is murder, hence no Christian *should* do it.

The mere rejection of God is not why people get there. People "get there" because of their sin. C'mon, thisd is theology 101, didn't your mom teach you anything?

Anyway, yes, drop it. And, I'm glad to hear that when you were a "beleiver" you would have violated God's law just to get your daughter into what you thought was "happy land." God's law is more important than your desires. You've now illustrated that you were never a believer. You opperated on the principle of autonomy. It was always your law over God's law.

So, come back when you got something. I mean, you're free to be an unbeliever, but don't act as if it's for intellectual reasons.

Sean said...

Nice. Reminds me of the movie "The Rapture."

Sean said...

Oh my FSM. Paul Manata -- the ignorant, bigoted, drug addict, gangbanger, homophobic Xian lunatic -- still haunts your site? Sorry that you inherited this parasite, guys.

Hey, Paul... Have you all reconciled with Gene's homosexuality yet? Better yet, has Gene?

Daniel said...

First, a clarification is in order: this topic came up, and I quoted Paul, in reference to abortion, not infanticide, but, you guys have a bit of a moral issue in declaring that infanticide is always sin, don't you? (eg 1 Sam 15:3, Num 31:17-8). Paul's words are italicized:

1. Why is this "sick?" In fact, D-dizzle has argued that it's okay for mothers to murder their unborn children, as long as it's early enough in the pregnancy. Is he arbitrary? For shizzle.
Hmmm, well, Paul, perhaps my "arbitriness" stems from a couple of things which you appear blissfully unaware of:
a) God is supposed to be perfectly merciful and gracious, no one claims humans are perfectly anything [and no one claims they need to be except Christians]
b) Using the term "murder" as you have here is rhetoric. I can just as easily declaim that God "murders" over 40% of all fetuses via natural abortion, since in your worldview, your sovereign God chooses for it to happen that they die. Thus your God "murders" far more fetuses than mothers do. Let's not descend into such rhetorical platitudes.
c) There is just a *bit* of a difference between ending something's life and sending it into an eternal hell, consider:
i) A fetus is not self-aware, so that when they die, whether by natural [God-ordained] or terminative abortion, there is no awareness of this fact...is the same true with hell?
ii) The process of death itself is temporal, and almost always brief. Your God sends infants to an infinite/eternal hell
iii) The process of death may or may not be painful, but let's rank the pain of physical death as a 1 on a scale of 10^1000, where hell = 10^1000

Arbitrary, indeed.

2. And, yes, the claim is that "all elect infants dying in infancy" will go to heaven. Indeed, there is not one verse in the Bible that tells us that all infants who die in infancy will go to heaven.
The claim was actually regarding, "won't aborting fetuses ensure their place in heaven?" To which you answer "no, not necessarily, some fetuses are not elect, and so go to hell" If there is a verse you can point to which clarifies this point, I would love to read it. I am not claiming there isn't one, but I certainly am not aware of any verse in the Bible which deals with unborn children with respect to their fate in the afterlife.

3. The unstated premise is that "God is wrong for sending infants to hell because their innocent." Once we see the unstated premise we can see that this position simply begs the question against the Christian worldview. If we restate this argument, then, it looks like this: "If we assume that portions of Christianity are wrong then we can show how God is a big meany."
Um, no. The premises of Xianity are:
1) Humans sin aganist God
2) God is just in sending sinful humans to hell
3) Therefore some humans go to hell [not dealing with the "elect" here for simplification]

The argument that was made:
1) Fetuses do not sin against God
2) God is not just in sending sinless fetuses to hell
3) Therefore no fetuses go to hell

The refutation you offered is:
1) Only the elect avoid hell
2) Not all fetuses are elect
3) Some fetuses go to hell

Of course, the way to resolve this is to explain how "original sin" is attached to election of a fetus, how it has some kind of intrinsic sin value which is justly met with the wrath of God. Personally, I see you descending into some pretty obscure interpretations to support your contention. The idea that fetuses and infants have some sort of willful sin is obvious nonsense. So, original sin is then all you have to go on, and aside from poetic references to David's "i was conceived in sin" I challenge you to substantiate your P2.

4. Lastly, he points out what us Christians have always wanted people to agree with. We don't worship God, or believe in Christianity, because it fits some soft, humanistic, can't we all just get along, pie in the sky bye and bye, mentality.
I point out what Christians have always wanted to avoid facing -- that this interpretation of their God is one of an immoral monster, in that it sends some fetuses/infants to an eternal darkness, to which Paul replies in Romans 9 only "who are you?" Without examining the truth value of your premises, it is quite clear that most people have enough moral fiber to reject your interpretation, and you know it, and that is why only 1% of 1% of Christians would ever make such a claim. That you would worship such a being belies your own moral vacuity.

This is also an ad-hominem against Jehovah.
Actually it's a critique of your worldview. Equivocating your interpretation as "God" is telling.

And, as Dan Barker, an ex-debunker
?? ex?? Is he still not an atheist?

"A strong clue that a person argues from a weak position is that character, rather than content, is addressed." -Barker, Loosing Faith in Faith, p.22
When you make a claim that "God is good" and "God is merciful" and "God is gracious" and "God is loving", you set yourself up for reductio ad absurdum concerning such conclusions as "Therefore, God sends some fetuses to hell". In these cases, you are making specific claims about the character of God. For me to argue against your conclusions, without disputing the truth of your premises, is hardly ad hominem, it's just showing how absurd it is to believe that God could simultaneously be just, merciful, good, loving, and send fetuses to an eternal hell. You don't have to reject your premises, just rethink your conclusions. In that sense, I'm saying that your logic is flawed, not God's character...so, no ad homs at all.

So, would you prefer I call you "Paulie"? I prefer Daniel, and if I can be called Daniel, rather than "Polly the parakeet" or some permutation of Snoop Dogg's ebonics-talk, I would appreciate it, and reciprocate with "Paul". I subscribe to "tit for tat", you see.

Daniel said...

Paul declaimed:
God has not revealed that this is an allowable case of homicide, that is, a just case.
How do you know that God didn't just speak to me and tell me to kick someone's wife in the belly to kill their infant, so that it wouldn't go to hell? How do you KNOW that? You don't. You can't. In 1 Sam 15:3 and Num 31:17, God has commanded the murder of infants before, so it wouldn't be without Biblical precedent.

So, come back when you got something. I mean, you're free to be an unbeliever, but don't act as if it's for intellectual reasons.
And you're free to be a Calvinist believer, but don't act as if it is a moral belief system to worship such a God as you do.

Daniel said...

We see the moral relativism of Christianity -- it isn't always wrong to kill infants, just when God doesn't command them to be killed. In Paul's universe, it is possible that Andrea Yates was carrying out the will of God.

In my universe, killing an infant is never, ever, ever, justifiable. That's moral realism, and he can disagree with my presupposition all he wants, but it just further displays his lack of morality. In reality, I would never advocate killing an infant, because in reality, there is no hell to shun, it is a Greek idea that corrupted the original Hebrew teaching on sheol. Do some research if you don't believe me, apparently Jesus didn't. Even Jeebus got fooled by that ol' rascally pagan doctrine of hell, didn't he Paul?

Daniel said...

PS: I just found a really good resource that I wanted to share. She goes through quite a few of the OT stories where God directly commands "his people" to kill women and children.

Anonymous said...

hey D-dizzle

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/07/pardon-me-might-you-have-any-grey.html

kc said...

Oh, so your mom didn't believe that humanity was "depraved?' In that case, why shoot anyone? We're all going to heaven, us non-depraved humans as it were.

Not in the same manner that Calvinism teaches.

...Jesus is the standard.

That's right and Jesus also said "suffer not the children to come unto me" and "you must become as children" - thus blowing Calvinism's doctrine that children are just as 'evil' as adults out of the water. Gonna agree that Calvinism is a false doctrine now or ya gonna tell me I've misinterpreted those passages?

Now, the argument is bad as an argument regardless who it's given against. One cannot argue that it is morally justifiable to kill someone unless they have an authorotative standard of justifiable homicide. God has not revealed that this is an allowable case of homicide, that is, a just case. Therefore it is murder, hence no Christian *should* do it.

I've presented my reasons why I think one can make a moral case to kill children under this grace period. Your response has been to state that those who believe it are wrong with no supporting evidence and some talk about biblical justification also with no supporting evidence. So, I'm just going to conclude that you have no argument besides the ole "I said so!!!!".

The mere rejection of God is not why people get there. People "get there" because of their sin. C'mon, thisd is theology 101, didn't your mom teach you anything?

Yes, it is. "Anyone who denies me I will also deny unto my father" sayth Jesus the Standard. Do you have any knowledge of sects outside of your own? Any evangelical can tell you that not believing in God is a "sin" in and of itself. And lets not forget something else Jesus the Standard said:

"...but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin."

Again, any evangelical can tell you that I'm cursed six ways to Sunday for turning my back on God which is seen as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit - the unforgivable sin which is disbelief. I'm going to hell, but not for being a bitch. I'm going to hell because I have denied the Lord and his sidekick the Ghost.

And just a minute ago you were telling moi to read the Bible? Perhaps you should try practicing what you preach or convert to one of your religions more strict sects that think the only book worth reading is the Bible.

Anyway, yes, drop it. And, I'm glad to hear that when you were a "beleiver" you would have violated God's law just to get your daughter into what you thought was "happy land." God's law is more important than your desires. You've now illustrated that you were never a believer. You opperated on the principle of autonomy. It was always your law over God's law.

No. You are wrong. You can either admit it or you can continue to insult my intelligence or my mother. Your choice. As for my laws, they're pretty simple. Treat everyone with deceny and respect unless they give just cause for not doing so like insulting my mother because she believes differently from them.

So, come back when you got something. I mean, you're free to be an unbeliever, but don't act as if it's for intellectual reasons.

Nah, I think I'll stay and pester you unless the actual owner of the blog tells me to put a sock in it. As I see it, it took you less than a few hours to insult my mother. Imagine what levels you can reach by this time next week. I say we go for it. What say you?

As to bestowing you permission for my continuing disbelief of your strange mythology. Why bless my soul. Thank you Jesus the Second. As one of Your most ardent disbelievers, kindly permit me to ask Your Greatness a most pressing question.

Exactly why do You ban the eating of oysters when it's quite obvious that You have an affinity for beetles? I have an affinity for the great cats and it just seems to me that if I were You I'd ban the killing of the great cats and throw some lightening bolts, thundering pronouncements and perhaps a plague or two in the general direction of humans who dared encroach upon the domain I gave them. Could You clear that up, please? Thanks.

John W. Loftus said...

It has been pointed out to me that on page 78 of his book The End of Faith, Sam Harris quotes Bertrand Russell:

“The Spaniards in Mexico and Peru used to baptize Indian infants and then immediately dash their brains out; by this means they secured these infants went to Heaven.”

Daniel said...

Paul,

--
This whole matter boils down to two important concepts, original sin and "election". Original sin has been argued against by fellow Christians and by heretics for years. It is a foundational doctrine, against which I will not argue that it /can/ be supported from the present Christian Bible (just as slavery /can/ be). That said, I strongly disagree with the logical basis of such a doctrine.

Because you presuppose the Bible as true, and I do not, as has often been pointed out, this comes down to a matter of premises.

I will argue original sin is false on the basis of the following premises, while you presuppose the Bible is true [which entails a million necessary other premises and explanations and interpretations] and argue it is true:
1. Morality is based upon the thoughts, choices and actions belonging to a conscious agent
2. If agents are not conscious, they cannot be moral [at any particular moment in question - don't be silly and say that sleep negates this premise]
3. Fetuses are not conscious moral agents
C2. Therefore, fetuses cannot be held to any standard of morality

Or,
1. Individual morality is based upon personal responsibility
2. For justice to occur, moral agents are held responsible for their own choices and not for the choices of others, nor actions over which they have no control
3. "Original sin" implies that individuals are responsible for the choices of other conscious agents
4. Therefore, "original sin" cannot be the basis of a just and logical moral philosophy

We can go on all day, and I am far from a philosopher, but I can dredge up far better arguments than mine from a text on ethics, I am sure. The point remains crystal clear -- to hold a fetus morally accountable for something its great-great-great grandfather chose is as logical as a purple elephant circling the earth as a satellite. Your doctrine is intrinsically flawed.

You only hold to it out of fealty to your book, not because it is logical.
--
See this too

Lonnie said...

John,

Thanks for your response.

I asked the senior pastor of the church I was working at once if I could allow our children's Sunday school to use a curriculum other than that which the denomination produced. He asked me why, and I walked him through the reasons. I'll never forget his response. He said, "Just make sure you talk to headquarters and tell them what you just told me. They deserve the respect of knowing why you are going in a different direction."

I hope you received what I said as constructive criticism. I wanted to give you the respect of knowing my concerns. If this were a "Christian" site, I would have given the same feedback. I just disagree with trying to make points in this manner.

I think you took to heart what I said and I appreciate that. Nonetheless, I think we simply disagree. That's okay. We're both allowed.

All the Best,
Lonnie

Paul Manata said...

Hi Daniel,

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/07/tightening-noose.html

Daniel said...

Hiraeth,

The nations of men are hardly the same as a just God judging a creature which has never been self-aware, nor committed any acts to piss off this God, as "guilty".

Paul,

So far, I'll paraphrase the dialogue, skeptics bold, apologists italicized:
Fetuses/infants can be spared an eternal agony by comitting a temporal murder/killing
Not necessarily, only the elect go to heaven, and there are some texts in the Bible that suggest that some babies/fetuses may not be elect
It would seem you are hard-pressed to show any verse that speaks of the fate of the unborn in the afterlife, since they cannot commit willful sin
Original sin taints all mankind, and we assume it taints from conception, not birth, nor at an arbitrary age "of accountability"
Original sin is an intrinsically flawed concept of justice/morality -- you cannot claim to justly hold one person accountable for actions committed completely beyond their control or influence by another
The logical basis is the idea of federal headship, or representation.

Now, if you feel I haven't fairly represented the dialogue, feel free to rewrite this.

So here we are.

Fine, and I take this as a tacit admission that all the other points I've been arguing for are counted in our favor.

If you like. Suffice it to say that I do not have the time nor interest to use resources like this one to attempt to argue against original from an exegetical/theological standpoint, or this one, but they obviously exist.

Notice the tacit admition of defeat. The original question was: "does the BIBLE teach original sin."
Not really. As I pointed out above, many things can be drawn from the Bible, and have been. That whole "interpretation" thing is where it all gets pretty fuzzy, like with "all mankind" including fetuses. As I said, other Christians and theologians would argue with you that "Adam's imputed unrighteousness" is irrelevant in the face of "the individual's own unrighteousness", and that the latter is the basis of God's judgment, because the former is just the intrinsic propensity of humans [as conscious moral agents] to keep eating the apple that brought the universe to its knees.

Whence I did we don't here an "oh yeah, you're right, well, let's move on to something else
I specifically mentioned original sin in reference to fetuses and infants, not "mankind" and "all men" etc., which is where other Christians chime in and disagree with you as well. Simply put, I didn't say, "oh yeah, you're right" and even if I did, it isn't whether I, non-theologian that I am, say it or not, now is it? It's whether the other theologians take you to task for inferring fetuses can be held to judgment by God for sins they "inherit".

Second, I don't see how this comes down to a matter of premises? I don't even know what that means. What it comes down to is exegesis, and Daniel Morgan is out gunned in this fight. That being the case, he tries to retreat to his outlaw hide out and fight on more familiar turf.
Outgunned? Yes. I never claimed to be a professional exegete. They pay sucks.

I grant to you that it can be supported exegetically, hinging on specific interpretations where "fetus/infant" get "read in"...and I further admit that I really don't care if it can be supported or not, neither whether human sacrifice or slavery or anything else can be. Admission of defeat if you like, but I could waste my time in trying to trash the illogical doctrine of Augustine being extrapolated to the unborn using other scriptures, if I held them as authoritative, as this person has. As I tried to point out in an act of cutting to the chase, I don't presuppose the Bible's teachings as necessary or true, any more than you presuppose Buddha's.

You don't see the relevancy here? Yes you do. It always matters. I will admit that I shouldn't have implied that you cannot argue original sin, but specifically talking about the unborn does, indeed, require some nebulous interpretations. That part you don't see a white flag raised over.

If an argument cannot stand on its own, it doesn't make a difference to me as to where it is derived from, or your assertion that it is God-breathed. Your assertion that an "Adam" actually existed, that a "Fall" actually occurred, and that by some magic spirit juice, or whatever, that gets mixed in with DNA and semen, we inherit "sin"...obviously, these sorts of things don't stand on their own, and require a million peripheral issues to be discussed that I have neither the time nor interest for.

Thus, in the end, the direction of the conversation does leads back to our presuppositions. Call me a pud if you want, whatever. I am tired of using the Bible to argue the Bible, as if that matters.

Before getting into the arguments I considered, please note that I said at the bottom of my comment,
We can go on all day, and I am far from a philosopher, but I can dredge up far better arguments than mine from a text on ethics, I am sure.

Consider that my arguments were invented in about 3 minutes' time. I will take the time to look up something on the web which is a little less hastily written for you in my response post.

When Tom and Pete say that murder is wrong what's happening is that Tom thinks it's wrong because it's based on *his* thoughts and Pete thinks it's wrong because it's based on *his* thoughts.
I think my premise isn't clear. I am attempting to say "what does morality evaluate?" not "what determines the morality of thoughts, choices, and actions?" I'm pointing out that morality, which to you = God's commands, always involve human actions, thoughts, and choices. Have I clarified?

I didn't say that determination of the morality of any action, thought, or choice is based upon someone else's actions, thoughts, or choices (though indirectly, they are, of course). It seemed obvious to me that I meant calling something "moral" implies it is a conscious moral agent's choice, action, or thoughs (or all of the above).

What is meant by "choices" here? Is Daniel not a physicalist who believes the laws of physics, biology, chemistry, etc determine our thoughts, choices, and actions? If so, then Daniel cannot believe is own P1 for what sense does it make to say that moral prescriptions are based on descriptive laws of physics and such.

Let's not get sidetracked onto physicalism. The laws of physics, chemistry, and biology certainly do determine our thoughts, choices, and actions. So? Do you disagree with this? Can you somehow think something, or act something out, that violates them? Using moral responsibility in a deterministic worldview is not illogical. Not when you consider that people are a product of the physical world and their social environment, and that enforcing rules falls into the latter camp, and that the social environment does indeed correct and train behaviors. I doubt you disagree that our environment shapes our choices and behaviors.

P2 assumes actual transgressions committed by an agent and not the imputed guilt "inherited" by all of his. This comes nowhere close to dealing with the concept of representation and corporate solidarity taught in the Bible.
Yeah and the Bible has a few other "concepts" that are just as ridiculous. How does one inherit "guilt"? Is it inside the atoms of your sperm? Is there some spirit magic, tainted with sin, that rides on the back of the sperm? I'm sorry, but the concept is silly.

It may be that consciousness is a myth given materialism, and thus no one is a conscious moral agent on Daniel's view. So, his argument does not even follow.
Perhaps you missed it, but twice now, you've switched from arguing against original sin to arguing against materialism. Self-awareness is a part of our subjective individual experience, whether it can be objectively described, studied, whatever, using physics or not [whether it is an illusion or not]. Arguing that a fetus is self-aware is like arguing that a rat is. They have probably around the same mental capacities at some point in development.

The worst here is the conclusion. Notice that he affirms the antecedent which would bring the conclusion "they cannot be moral." But notice that Daniel changes his conclusion to "they cannot be held to a moral standard." But this was not the consequent of his modus ponens! An egregious logical blunder.
Okay, my bad. I should have written it more carefully in those 20 seconds I was giving thought to each line. It doesn't seem such an egregious logical blunder though...I would have to say that one implies the other -- if you are not moral, can you be justly held to a moral standard?

On a representationalist view all men can be held accountable to the moral standard that Adam was under.
Fine. Did the fetus eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Nope. Okay, then, it is sin-free.

prima facie, uses terms inconsistent with his materialism.
So I should have to clear with you what my worldview is and how my worldview accounts for X before arguing for X? Arguments should have a preface where we say, "I'm a Cartesian dualist" or "I'm an indirect realist" before we start them? Please...

P2 is demonstrably false. People, schools, and nations are constantly "held accountable" for the moral choices of others. For example, if the football team cheats then the whole school gets blacked-out. If my son smashes my neighbors window and kills her dog, I'm held responsible. These examples can be multiplied ad nauseum.
You can be held responsible by the state for something over which you are given custodial privelage. This only means you are held liable for your son's actions in repairing the consequences of those actions, but you can't have the morality of his action magically "imputed" to you, so that your son's wrong choice = your wrong choice. If your kid killed someone, they wouldn't put you in jail for it, would they?

P2 assumes a freedom that Daniel's materialism doesn't allow for. If we are all determined by the laws of physics how can we have "control" over those actions."
Is materialism on trial, or "original sin"?

v. Adam did what we all would have done.
And "Adam" is a fictitious character in a creation myth. There is not only an absence of evidence for your Edenic paradise and 6,000 year old ancestor, but a plethora of evidence against the existence of both.

vi. Daniel cannot even account for morality.
What? First, is that at issue, here? Let's say he can't, or let's say that there is no morality at all. Does that make original sin "true"? Hardly.

vii. The conclusion goes beyond the premises.
Then let me say "'Original sin' cannot be the basis of individual morality", to which you do not seem to disagree, in referring to your "corporate" examples. It seems that you [correct me if I'm wrong] don't deny that the fetus hasn't committed any sin...so God is justified in judging it for your fictitious Adam's sin. I will carefully consider the next argument that I present to account for "federal headship" and I'll take the time to do some research on it.

viii. I deny that "original sin" is "the basis" for morality, so this is no argument against Christianity.
So then a fetus cannot be morally judged as "good" or "bad"? Hmmm.

ix. Thus we're justified in rejecting this argument as well.
Perhaps. I'll refer to some texts and try again probably tomorrow.

Is this the point where I insert one of these: LOL?
Or, recognize that my admission of replying to you with admittedly- shallow arguments is a reflection of my own "LOL" at the silliness of a grown man who believes in fairy tales, like a talking snake and an apple that sank the universe. It's hard to take it seriously enough to really argue against, I suppose. But, you've shown me your dedication to the fables, so I'll do my darndest to reciprocate tomorrow.

i. You'd actually have to *show* how it's illogical.
I will.

ii. There is nothing "illogical" about a "purple elephant circling the earth as a satellite." It may be false, impossible (physically), etc., but it's not "illogical" since there is no law of logic violated in saying such a thing.
If something is physically impossible, which, actually, this isn't, doesn't that render it illogical to say that it exists?

iii. Holding a person morally accountable for something the laws of physics determined he'd do is about as silly as believing that purple elephants orbit the earth as satellites.
Humans live in social structures, if causality is not accorded, and if consequences are not enforced, chaos would break out. The enforcing of laws is itself a part of the environment which shapes us and trains our behaviors. It's nature + nurture, not "nature or nurture", since our environment is a part of nature.

iv. Your doctrine is intrinsically flawed.
I don't think that materialism is on trial, but feel free to change the subject at will.

v. Hint: I'm not scared by tough talk and mere assertions that we have all these supposed problems in our system. One could say that Triablogue is very Missourian about grand assertions, i.e., "show me."
That's respectable. I will attempt to, probably tomorrow.

Mark Cote said...

Ezekiel 18:20 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


The soul who sins is the one who will die. The son will not share the guilt of the father, nor will the father share the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous man will be credited to him, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against him.

How does this gell with the concept of original sin?

Paul Manata said...

http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2006/07/jumping-from-pillar-to-post.html

Mark Cote said...

I think all I really need to know is what you have told me, and just so I‘ve got this right:

There are two classes, those who are going to Heaven, and those who are going to Hell.

These classes were decided and created by God before the planet started.

These classes cannot be interchanged for any reason whatsoever.

There are no other classes than the two above.

Have I got that correct?

Thanks Paul.

Mark

Joe E. Holman said...

Now, now...all this back-and-forth about infant damnation and original sin...how foolish!

The issue is this -- logically speaking, it makes infinitely more sense to kill a young child or infant, and to abort every fetus because this is a legitimate loophole in God's system (given you are not a Calvinist or old Italian Roman Catholic, who believes in infant damnation).

The same thing goes for evangelism. A loophole exists; if indeed some are saved in ignorance (Aztecs, Africans, etc.) before they had an opportunity to hear the message of Jesus, then it becomes detrimental to preach the gospel to them because there is now a chance that those preached to will not believe, and hence, not be saved! Yet if they had remained ignorant, they'd have been fine!

If a child is not initially killed, but allowed to grow to "the age of accountability" (whatever the hell that is!), they may reject salvation and be damned, so it would have been better had they never been born, given Jesus' own words!

Of course, the believer is free to argue that such murder would be wrong, but that does not address the illogic as to why the almighty set up such a weird and unfair theological justification system such as this! At the very least, this means we shouldn't be sad the next time you turn on the local news and hear about a baby being murdered by a sick parent. The parent may have done wrong, but at least that's one less soul in hell--gauranteed!!!

I'm glad this topic was brought up. As a minister, I tried for years to cope with this problem and couldn't touch it, topside or bottom.

(JH)