Morality Without God, by The Thinking Atheist

This video highlights the problems for any kind of credible Natural Theology:

37 comments:

Cole said...

There's also a problem with trying to ground moral values in God. Theists who try to escape the Euthyphro Dilemma by grounding morality in God's nature push the problem back further. To identify morality with God's nature is to identify it with a set of properties. To say that God is by nature good is to say He has a set of properties that constitute moral goodness.


1. Either God is good because God has the properties that constitute moral goodness, or the properties are good because God has them.

2. If God is good because God has the properties that constitute moral goodness, then the moral properties are the standard of goodness -- not God.

3. If the properties are good because God has them, then goodness is arbitrary.

4. Therefore, either moral properties are the standard of goodness (and not God), or goodness is arbitrary.

Premiss 3 can be shown with per impossible reasoning. if the properties that constitute God's nature are good merely in virtue of the fact that God instantiates them, then (perhaps per impossibile) if God had been sadistic, then it would've been good to be sadistic. But this is absurd; therefore, the properties that constitute God's nature are not good merely in virtue of the fact that God instantiates them.

Either moral properties and values exist necessarily and therefore don't require an outside source or our morality somehow evolved. Either view has it's problems but so does the God explanation.

Mike D said...

It seems like "morals" are often confused with a use-mention error.

Moral values are not actual things. They are concepts. They exist solely as human abstractions. They are not the properties of any being or thing.

Accordingly, there is absolutely no reason why what we refer to as "morals" cannot simply be a sociocultural outcome of behavioral traits – i.e., our necessarily gregarious, cooperative and empathetic nature – that are hard-wired into us by natural selection.

Sabio Lantz said...

Morality without the Bible?

Morality INSPITE of the Bible !

Breckmin said...

"Theists who try to escape the Euthyphro Dilemma by grounding morality in God's nature push the problem back further."

You can NOT just *isolate* on God's nature without addressin His Will. His Will trumps all other finite wills because He created them. God's intentions are Logically "good" in His universe by the very fact that He created it and He Alone Owns it.


"To identify
morality with God's nature is to identify it with a set of properties."

This is still incongruous with His Will being the logical "good" of the universe He created.

"To say that God is by nature good is to say He has a set of properties that constitute moral goodness."

The problem comes when you try to invoke the English word "properties" rather than Characteristics or Attributes which are directly related to the subject. You can not switch from the adjective descriptions of characteristics which describe God 'to' a noun or properties which you will then claim are independent from God. This is playing with the English language in such a way that will lead to deception and error. The problem is that each characteristic can be both an adjective describing God or a noun and it is very important to identify the switch.

When we talk about "good" as in a good God...we use it as an adjective that describes God..when we switch to the concept of "good" we are now looking at it as a noun.

Now you will attempt to separate it from being a description of the Creator to something separate from Himself.

Breckmin said...

"1. Either God is good because God has the properties that constitute moral goodness, or the properties are good because God has them.

2. If God is good because God has the properties that constitute moral goodness, then the moral properties are the standard of goodness -- not God.

3. If the properties are good because God has them, then goodness is arbitrary.

4. Therefore, either moral properties are the standard of goodness (and not God), or goodness is arbitrary."

OR
5. God is good because He sets the
standard as the Perfect Creator (notice I do not use the word "being")for good in the universe He created and everything that He "wills" is good because it is LOGICALLY His universe with HIS objective determination for what is right/good/correct.

You have to address the logical justification for special pleading because God is omniscient as well as the standard for God and the standard for perfection in the universe He owns and created. That is why "God's determination" is NOT subjective...it is objective reality.

Breckmin said...

"3. If the properties are good because God has them, then goodness is arbitrary."

The description of God as being "good" is NOT arbitrary or subjective in anyway...because God as omniscient and Perfect Creator determines what "is." His omniscience alone logically determines OBJECTIVITY. You can not say God's Will or intentions are arbitrary or whimsical or capricious for SEVERAL reasons involving the logic of His Will and intentions.



"Premiss 3 can be shown with per impossible reasoning. if the properties that constitute God's nature are good merely in virtue of the fact that God instantiates them, then (perhaps per impossibile) if God had been sadistic, then it would've been good to be sadistic."

This possibility could be met with other ridiculous possibilities. Let's ask another circular possibility.. "What if God knows in His Omniscience (notice I didn't use the anthropomorphic English word "mind")that the ONLY possibility IS that God is good??

Until you deal with the characterists and attributes themselves, the whole line of reasoning is evasive to actuality..while asserting circular possibilities which are meaningless. I can just as easily assert the possibility that God can ONLY BE good...and that God knows this.



"But this is absurd; therefore, the properties that constitute God's nature are not good merely in virtue of the fact that God instantiates them."

You are attempting to take the Supreme Will of God which is sine qua non in the universe He created and "separate" it from Him as an independent property so that you won't have "God is good" equal to saying "God is God." Just as Perfection would be determined by the Creator...so also "good" would logically be determined by the Creator because of His WILL to create.

Until you address Logical Ownership of the universe that God is logically Supreme in relation to you have NO standard by which to appeal to - to any "property" or quality which would somehow be independent of God or somehow (illogically) higher than God.
Just because Perfection and Goodness are determined by the Creator Who owns the universe - this doesn't mean that His Will is capricious.

Because of HIS logical purpose(s).

This is what we need to discuss.

Hendy said...

@Breckmin:

I think all of this begins to fall apart when one tries to extract anything practical from any of these philosophical conclusions. To expand:

- Other than your convoluted definitions (tossing god's will into the equation), where can I find tangible evidence for the claim that god is good and all that is good comes from god?
--- I see none in the old testament. An all good god would seem to be incapable of denying his nature (or will, or properties, or characteristics... whatever you want to call them) to commit atrocities
--- I see none in the present day, for believers and non-believers alike are targeted by natural disasters, studies on prayer have shown no effect, requests for healing and miracles go unanswered, etc., I see innocent children suffering great pain due to illness, disease, or flesh-eating bacteria...

So, at the end of the day, I find it's almost easier to 'get down to brass tacks' and grant any philosophical definition you want and simply look for the evidence of it's truth.

I got in a similar discussion with uncle e about the historical nature of the bible and find it easier to simply say, 'Sure, the bible is completely true. Jesus is Lord and the Holy Spirit is with us always to teach us all things.' Now, where can I verify this in practice? Where are the answered prayers and where is the Holy Spirit moving within us to prove that there is only one God?

This is what seems, to me, to be the far more fruitful discussion. As a believer, put God's money where his mouth is and provide some examples of how his goodness stems from his nature, will, properties, characteristics and how he is both a personal, disembodied mind unified in homousian flavor with his own will and all that is perfectly good so that we can all convert and believe.

This is what I want. Something, anything that I can look at whether I believe or do not and say there's God! Finally, I found him. All I've encountered so far is philosophical odysseys that mean nothing in practicality and evidence that is seen as evidence only if you have the right colored glasses on.

Cody said...

Breckmin,

Let's talk about God's good will.

1.Either:

a.The Good is willed by God because it is the Good.

b.The Good is the Good because it is willed by God.

1.If (1a) is true, then the Good is independent of God’s will.

2.If (2) is true, then God did not create the Good, and is not Creator.

3.If (1b) is true, then the Good is contingent and subjective (to God’s will).

4.If (4) is true, then there is no objective standard of morality, and the absolute of value-selection is false.

5.God does not exist. (from 1, 3 and 5)

Cody said...

Brekmin, to say God's will is good requires a standard by which to judge it as good.

Breckmin said...

"where can I find tangible evidence for the claim that god is good and all that is good comes from god?"

You can start with the greatest act of evil we have ever done in human history and that is killing and torturing the Man that God became - and yet cosmically from God's perspective it was a GOOD thing to give His Life.

The is the dual reality of choices/actions which are both good and evil depending on how you "look" at them or see them. When Joseph was sold into slavery it was an evil act on the part of his brothes and yet God "meant it" for good.
What most people do not understand is that God's mercy is not the only thing that glorifies Him. God's wrath glorifies God because it displays His Righteousness.
Without sin/disobedience/evil we would never identify and see the Holiness of God. You can NOT, however, isolate on this and trivialize it to the point of ignoring the connected premises of the necessity of not only knowing good and evil to display God's Holiness, but ALSO to display God's Love through His "mercy" and His "protection" (for all of eternity).
You look at the temporary creation and you see bad things happening and call them evil...yet every single death results either in mercy or wrath depending on how it relates to the individual. That is the reality of DEATH in that we all die at some point in history. We all have different experiences where other people's choices are affecting us and there is nothing "fair" about it. True fairness is non-observable in our universe and therefore it is an illogical appeal for anything.

All there is, my friend, is mercy when you know you have trangressed against God's Holy Law.

This brings about the glory of love in the midst of all of our evil. Of course you can never say that the standard for perfection and that which is good in the universe is somehow "not good" or evil..and this is NO accident.
But what you can do is look around at the consequences of sin and death in this temporary creation and see that this world needs a Savior.

"This is what I want. Something, anything that I can look at whether I believe or do not and say there's God!"

Perhaps this will be the power of your own transformed life and the desire to be obedient to God and to seek His Will and His Purposes for your life - and not your own.

This is what He created you for... and all of the glory will logically go to Him for His Love to you and His grace in your life.

Chuck O'Connor said...

Breck

You could save a lot of time and simply state your opinion as "might makes right". It isn't much deeper or useful than that. It's a shame you don't see it. I predict you have or will do a lot of harm to yourself and others due to this worldview.

Breckmin said...

"simply state your opinion as "might makes right". It isn't much deeper or useful than that."

First, it would be "Infinite Might makes absolute right" if we were to isolate on enforcement...but that is just one aspect of how important it is to address special pleading and the justification for the differences.

"It's a shame you don't see it."

Isolating on God's power and ignoring His Love/Mercy/Grace and Protection for the finite being who is a danger to himself/herself is never a good thing...especially if it contributes to not seeking forgiveness or an understanding of good and evil which needs to be discussed.

Breckmin said...

"Brekmin, to say God's will is good requires a standard by which to judge it as good."


The necessity of seeing the *contrast* between good and evil is indeed required for knowing how to identify one or the other...but actually the STARDARD is the "good" and the evil is what falls short (in disobedience).
God's responses of judgement (to disobedience/evil) are always logically going to glorify Him in a declaration of His Righteousness...so judgement can be seen as "good" also from a cosmological perspective that God is Holy...however from OUR perspective when we are the one in pain - we perceive this as evil. The is the dual reality of any choice/action which takes place.

Everything will logically glorify God in the end..the only question is which side do you want to be on (God's judgement in declaring His Holiness? Or God's grace/mercy in declaring Love).

Breckmin said...

"1.Either:

a.The Good is willed by God because it is the Good.

b.The Good is the Good because it is willed by God."


It is very important to dissect not only false dilemmas when it comes to divine command theory and the Euthyphro Dilemma (but also the nouns and adjectives and the phrases we use as it relates to "willed by God." (as a description which already exists or whether it is an act of bringing into existence).

If we look at a very basic false dilemma:
"Is the good(noun)good(adj)because God says(communicates?or determines?we already have equivocation with the word 'says) it(noun) is?

OR

"Is the good(n)good(adj)because it(n) IS somehow intrinsically good(adj-but could be confused as both)?

Clearly these two questions are easily answered as "it is neither"
just as with Euthyphro where determining pious is with finite gods who do NOT own the universe and set the standards because THEY are not "objective" - where the God of Abraham who is Infinite and omniscient *does* set the objectivity for His Universe and all "facts" which exist in it.

FTR, I do not intend to drop the conversation so lowly as to make it an intellectually puerile English lesson on nouns and adj's..but it is important to see what we are doing when we re-word these.

"The noun is willed by God because it is the noun." (if we use "intended" instead of "willed" are we claiming this is bringing it into existence? And what about the word "by?" Isn't "by" connected to God? If so then we could re-word "The noun exists connected to God - because it is the noun." Now the last part of the sentence is meaningless because without God it doesn't exist.

OR

"The noun is the noun because it is willed by God." Still the same question exists. What is "willed by?" Is it "determined by?" or is it a description of God Himself? in which case it is evasive to "intended to be good" by God.

If you say "this is all obfuscation" or "convoluting" - this is general and doesn't deal with the necessity to do this to see the imperfection of how we are piecing specific meanings together.

Breckmin said...

If we simply say "The noun is defined by God's Nature *and* intentions" now we are no longer isolating on God's Will or God's Nature which are Supreme in His universe..and we could list specific things which are good like "faithfulness, merciful,self-sacrificing, protecting" and things which a Christian can relate to as a part of God's nature which applies to them.
We can NOT separate God's qualities,attributes,or characteristics from Him as being independent properties...because they are determined by both His Nature and His Logical Intentions.

His Will trumps all wills.

"1.If (1a) is true, then the Good is independent of God’s will."

Even evil's existence is not completely independent of God's will but we have to specify what I mean by this (question everything).

"2.If (2) is true, then God did not create the Good, and is not Creator."

? So if God doesn't create Himself He can not be the Creator? Why would good somehow need to be created?

"3.If (1b) is true, then the Good is contingent and subjective (to God’s will)."

This is where you need to address the logic of special pleading for God's Omniscience and objectivity of all facts in His universe.

"4.If (4) is true, then there is no objective standard of morality, and the absolute of value-selection is false."

Because you do not understand that God sets the absolute standard for objectivity itself and logically determines all value cosmically - this causes you to look at God as just another subjective experience.

"5.God does not exist. (from 1, 3 and 5)"

This is like saying if God doesn't create His own Nature and His own Will then He is not the Creator.

Breckmin said...

@Cody
FTR, I know I screwed up on point 2 while multi-tasking here - and I wish I could edit it (to make it a correct response to your point)

Cody said...

Breckmin,

Let me put it to you this way. It's morally wrong to torture babies for fun. It's always wrong for everybody. Even if they disagree it's still wrong. Moral truths are just as true as 2+2=4. That is, they are true in all possible worlds and therefore they exist of metaphysical necessity.
But if so, then they don't need an explanation for their existence in terms of something beyond themselves. For they can't fail to exist; the reason why the laws of morality exist is because it's metaphysically impossible for them to fail to exist. Moral truths are necessary truths, like mathematical truths (1+1=2), in which case they would exist even if God did not.

Breckmin said...

"It's morally wrong to torture babies for fun."

Only if there is an absolute standard for this to be true and REAL. Otherwise a sado-masochist or a devil worshipper could claim it is NOT wrong and invalidate your whole system by claiming you are using an ad populum fallacy.

When the sun 'burns out' and destroys our solar system - if there is no objective standard for meaning or morals then they will perish and mathematically approach zero for all of eternity.

This is no accident.

"It's always wrong for everybody."

Only if there is a logical appeal to objectivity. Subjectivity can easily be exposed as circular reasoning (he said verses they said).

"Even if they disagree it's still wrong."

By "whose" assertion if there is NO Creator Who sets the objective standard? What standard can you possibly appeal to? Conventions are easily exposed as circular.

"Moral truths are just as true as 2+2=4."

We all use the same mathematics because it is perfect. We do not all agree on morality. I can agree, btw, that moral truths are just as true as mathematical truths IF and only IF there is an Objective Standard to appeal to.
That would require objective accountability.

"That is, they are true in all possible worlds and therefore they exist of metaphysical necessity."

Without a foundational basis for asserting moral truth..you can NOT point the finger at Adolf Hitler and say that 'what he did' is somehow "wrong" in a perishing temporary world with no objective accountability.

If someone in Nazi Germany thinks their morality is true in all possible worlds you would logically need as foundational standard of objectivity to appeal to.

"Not hurting someone" easily falls apart under pure logic dissection and analysis. You can't assert such moral truth without the foundational standard to base it on (that is objective from human opinion).

"But if so, then they don't need an explanation for their existence in terms of something beyond themselves. For they can't fail to exist; the reason why the laws of morality exist is because it's metaphysically impossible for them to fail to exist."

This is a bare assertion without justification. Unless you have a standard to appeal to which is independent of human opinion you have no objective basis from which to form a moral assumptions.

"Moral truths are necessary truths, like mathematical truths (1+1=2), in which case they would exist even if God did not."

You've obviously never heard of the mathematical proof argument for God... I would assert that mathematical truth points to an objective infinite language (units which define meaning). Mathematics exists independent of humankind and is a perfect order (perfect language as Josiah Gibbs noted). It is falsifiable, however, unlike moral truth.
That is why you can not compare moral truth to mathematical truth in a falsifiable system that is provable.

How could you prove it is always wrong to hurt someone or always wrong to kill a baby?

So much for a fetus that is biologically identical to a baby.

Cody said...

Brekmin,

The moral law is the absolute moral standard by which we judge torturing babies for fun is wrong. It's wrong for everybody everywhere even if they disagree. Hitler was wrong even though people agreed with him. The moral law is absolute and applies in all circumdtances and situations. It's therefore true in all possible worlds and therefore It exists of metaphysical necessity and therefore doesn't require an outside explanation.

There are two kinds of being. Necessary beings, which exist of their own nature and so have no external cause of their existence and contingent beings whose existence is accounted for by causal factors outside themselves.


Moral truths exist and exist of metaphysical necessity

Moral truths don't have an explanation in terms of something outside themselves

Moreover, if moral truths require an outside explanation for their existence then so does God. They both exist necessarily.

Breckmin said...

"It's wrong for everybody everywhere even if they disagree."

Why? It can't just be wrong because it's wrong..that is circular.

"Hitler was wrong even though people agreed with him."

Bare assertion without justification. Why is it wrong that one group doesn't think it's wrong and another group DOES think it's wrong? Why? What is it based on?


"The moral law is absolute"

What moral law and where does it "come" from?


"and applies in all circumdtances and situations."

Why? Who determines this?


"It's therefore true in all possible worlds and therefore It exists of metaphysical necessity and therefore doesn't require an outside explanation."

Bare assertion. What is it based on? How is it metaphysically necessary? Please be specific.

Breckmin said...

(cont.)
"There are two kinds of being. Necessary beings, which exist of their own nature and so have no external cause of their existence"

Other than uncaused cause (as in Creator who is NOT a 'being' as in finite being, but IS an infinite existence - but saying a state of being is somewhat defaming, imo)what other states of being are necessary states of being? Please be specific and justify their origin.

"and contingent beings whose existence is accounted for by causal factors outside themselves."

Like all finite existence.


"Moral truths exist and exist of metaphysical necessity"

Bare assertion without justification. Why? How? And why are they necessary? And why are they "of metaphysical necessity?" specifically? Please justify this assertion.

"Moral truths don't have an explanation in terms of something outside themselves"

Why? Where do they come from? What are they *based* on?

"Moreover, if moral truths require an outside explanation for their existence then so does God."

Incorrect. The difference is that God as the Creator addresses First Cause as being the Uncaused cause. Also, God is concluded to be Logically Infinite based on various factors (which I would be happy to discuss and justify). By being Infinite this creates a logical consideration of atemporal/transcendent existence which we can also discuss mathematically.

The fact that the Infinite Creator is concluded based on evidence is just one aspect of the foundation for monotheism based on specific evidences for agostic theism.

The reality is that the Creator is logical to stop infinite regression... morals "without" God or without an objective standard to appeal to are not an explanation for anything.

The difference is justification verses bare assertion. I will not make a bare assertion without justification for believing in a Creator.

I CANNOT however justify any moral law or set of moral rules without an objective appeal. Just saying that "moral law is absolute and is moral law" is circular (and quite different from saying there is evidence for agnostic theism which leads to specific examination of such evidence to conclude Infinite Creator).

Moral law WITH an Infinite Creator flows systematically.

Moral law "without" any Creator at all is just a bare assertion without justification.

You have to base your assertion ON something.


They both exist necessarily.

Cody said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hendy said...

@Breckmin: "You can start with the greatest act of evil we have ever done in human history and that is killing and torturing the Man that God became - and yet cosmically from God's perspective it was a GOOD thing to give His Life.

The is the dual reality of choices/actions which are both good and evil depending on how you "look" at them or see them."


Wow, Breckmin. For someone who has been incessantly demanding an objective source of morality, this says it all right here. This exact line of thinking allows religious individuals all over the world to commit serious atrocities. If you are operating on a 'dual-leveled-morality', then you can literally violate the accepted morality 'of this world' because you are accomplishing good in a world that 'is unseen.' Do you see this?

Also, read the article at Ebon Musings on a proposition for an atheistic morality that is both objective and absolute found HERE.

Morality is absolute in that morality applies to humans. It would be a fruitless discussion to talk about morality outside of humans for it only applies to us. In this sense, any moral system which applies to humans is proposing a universal morality (one that objectively applies to all humans at all times in all places). The system proposed in the link above is also absolute. There is one absolute rule: Always minimize both actual and potential suffering; always maximize both actual and potential happiness.

I dig it.

Lastly, to return to your original comment about evil being a matter of how we 'look' at it... just rethink how this completely undermines any attempt at absolute, objective morality. You demand it from others but actively remove yourself from the necessity of taking a stance against human torture and the killing of an innocent man when you make that statement. Even your view on this is contradicted by scripture, for Judas was not taken into heaven on a fiery chariot for performing the 'necessary evil' of betrayal. He is thought to be one of the worst sinners of all time for his actions; even Jesus says [paraphrased], 'But woe to the man through which the son of man falls. It would be better for him if he had never been born.'

The type of thinking you present her is precisely the reasons that crimes are committed in religions -- belief systems which should by their definition never commit crimes.

Breckmin said...

"If you are operating on a 'dual-leveled-morality', then you can literally violate the accepted morality 'of this world'"

Evasive to God's objective standard which exists independent of me personally.

"because you are accomplishing good in a world that 'is unseen.'"

This good is clearly seen by born-again Christians all over the world..it is a work that God does and we will logically praise Him for it (and thank Him for all eternity).


"Do you see this?"

I see that you are trying to make me the subjective subject rather than a subject that is submitting to an objective standard.


"Always minimize both actual and potential suffering; always maximize both actual and potential happiness."

If a sado-maschocist disagrees with this...they can demonstrate that your appeal is to circular reasoning and argumentum ad populum appeal. You have to BASE this assertion on something or it is a bare assertion.

If you had a Creator that set the objective standard for morality..then and only then would you have an objective appeal.

I notice that no one is setting forth any objective justification for "not hurting someone" as a basis for anything.

What if so called "happiness" is a illusion before distruction. Just look at it this way..IF heaven and hell exists then you should attempt NOT to go to where there is suffering (minimize it) and attempt to logically go to where there is "happiness." You CAN'T do that without Jesus Christ.

This temporary creation is passing.

Hendy said...

@Breckmin:

I have had this come up far too many times in my discussions with others. I honestly see no difference whatsoever in either of these propositions:

- 1)There is an eternal being watching you who is perfect goodness. If you choose him, he will grant you eternal bliss; if you reject him, you reject his perfect goodness and thus suffer eternal death. Therefore, I would do good if I were you.

- 2) We are humans and thus sentient beings capable of feeling physical and emotional pain and pleasure. We should act in such a way that avoids inflicting pain on others and that proactively seeks the happiness of others instead.

Both of us are merely setting forth propositions; just because you back yours up by something unseen and unverifiable does not make it an actual justification for any morality whatsoever.

Case in point: I'm an atheist. How will you prove to me that there is a being who is both a person and at the same time a sort of immaterial 'concept' of goodness such that I need to compare all my actions to his/its standard? What reason have I to accept your claim and therefore agree to your reason for morality? Show me a perfect example of goodness in this world such that I will know it is the work of this being. Hmmm, there is none?

Unable to convince me of the truth of your moral source... what would you suggest next to help me in my wandering? Would you perhaps suggest practical 'representations' of this moral code? Would you inform me that the golden rule is a good start? Would you need to convince me of the actual reasons for treating others civilly or do you think agreeing that pain and miserableness sucks for everyone would be reasonably sufficient for a start?

Anyway, in a practical sense, any 'god-derived' morality actually just ends up being an intellectual proposition that one accepts or rejects. I have just as many issues with the psychopath that you do. Calling him to 'repent and be baptized' isn't going to help the situation any. We would both rely on modern civilization to restrain the guy and prevent him from inflicting harm on himself or others... This is what civilizations do or should do -- protect others from psychopaths.

Since you bring up that my supposedly weak morality would not be able to control a psychopath, what evidence can you show that your 'objective and absolute' man in the sky has prevented those preaching in his name from doing things behind closed doors?

I see no great moral difference between followers of any religion and followers of no religion. Those of us who care do the best we can to assembly a cognizant moral code which we can believe in and live our lives according to it. My suggestion is that this is all it is: here is a system; will you abide by it or not? It's usually society that has the punishments. I would actually be fine with god striking down my house due to my last 2 months of complete doubt of his existence. I'd honestly gladly welcome misfortune and punishment for my 'sin' so that I could be done with questioning.

Breckmin said...

"just rethink how this completely undermines any attempt at absolute, objective morality."

It is set by the will and the nature of the Holy Creator. We can not logically set it.

"You demand it from others"

No. I demonstrate that it is NON-EXISTENT without a cosmic standard or Owner of the universe or Objective LawGiver.


"...but actively remove yourself from the necessity of taking a stance against human torture"

It was WRONG for the soldiers to do this. That is what you don't understand. It is always wrong to torture another man. God, however, is NOT another man (except when He become One through/in Jesus Christ). God can logically judge Perfectly because He Alone is Omniscient. I am clearly against any act of violence on the part of a Christian(unless self-defense or military obedience in a time of war).

"....and the killing of an innocent man when you make that statement."

It was wrong for the Roman Soldiers to crucify Christ and they made absolute choices (this is what you do not understand- and it is very important to discuss sunergeism in theology).

"...Even your view on this is contradicted by scripture,"

Isaih 53:10 is one verse I would start with. John 3:16 makes it clear that God GAVE His Son for the Sacrifice of sins.

"for Judas was not taken into heaven on a fiery chariot for performing the 'necessary evil' of betrayal. He is thought to be one of the worst sinners of all time for his actions; even Jesus says [paraphrased], 'But woe to the man through which the son of man falls. It would be better for him if he had never been born.'"

Very true. Judas was not a true disciple of Christ (in following Him to the end - more importantly - in LOVING Him). We obey Jesus because we LOVE Him. Peter loved Jesus, even though Peter failed. God knew this.

"The type of thinking you present her is precisely the reasons that crimes are committed in religions -"

No one should harm another person unless they are in authority and they are punishing them for a crime. OTT, no one should harm another person. My belief system is completely non-violent. This is the Church age..it is the age of God's grace. The battle is not fought in the flesh with weapons that kill the empirical fleshly body...the battle is fought in the hearts of men for their LOVE for God and their willingness to TRUST Him to be their Salvation because of their own sin which is a violation against a Holy God.


- belief systems which should by their definition never commit crimes."

I'm glad you see that Christianity is opposed to crime.

Now we need to look at God working together with humankind's absolute choices and see clearly the difference between causation (which is an imperfect word) and observation/interacting/controling parameters through an infinite amount of circumstances which guides/directions a world of absolute choices (which are on a consecutive linear timeline) from an atemporal/transcendent existence
which is omnipresent throughout all time. IOW, the Infinite Decree of the Infinite Creator is inclusive of all finite beingss absolute choices. Question everyting.

Hendy said...

@Breckmin: I'll just stick to one of your quotes since I find it extremely hard to follow your cutting and pasting. Just look at this:

"The is the dual reality of choices/actions which are both good and evil depending on how you "look" at them or see them. When Joseph was sold into slavery it was an evil act on the part of his brothes and yet God "meant it" for good.
What most people do not understand is that God's mercy is not the only thing that glorifies Him. God's wrath glorifies God because it displays His Righteousness."


Simple questions:
1) You inform me that an action can be both good and evil depending on how you look at it. In application to the crucifixion, then, it was 'good' for the soldiers to torture Jesus since it worked for greater good of all mankind, correct? In other words, since, as you say, God is omnipresent through all time, he can see 'the big picture' and know that it would be for a greater good that Jesus died, right?

2) Given that the answer to number 1 was yes, how does this prevent me from using harm to bring about a 'greater good'? If an action can be both 'evil' in it's immediate effect, but 'good' in it's long term effects, it seems that using humans as means to an end is justified. Why can't I yell at my wife when she doesn't do what I want and use bad names because I know that I have her best interests in mind and in the end, motivating her by causing her to be dissatisfied with her present self, will cause a greater amount of holiness down the road?

3) If through prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, I am brought to a perfect vision such that I saw a clear prophesy indicating that if I kill my best friend, his family will absolutely be saved whereas without his death they would have never repented... should I do it? Should I at least hope for it? Should i hope someone else does it (like some Roman soldiers passing by)?

4) If I, through prayer and meditation, receive a word from God commanding me to do something that is socially evil, what basis do you have for telling me that I can't? I answer only to the objective source of all absolute morality and heard through divine revelation that I should blow up an abortion clinic to save the innocent souls of hundreds of babies. We have the same boss and he obviously told me to do this, so you should probably pray more until he passes on the memo that this is what he told me.

Point: you have not answered why a form of morality based on an unproven being is more compelling than one based on what we experience as humans. Happiness/pleasure and suffering/pain are given, a priori conditions of the human situation. No one has to rely on something unprovable for their moral source.

You have yet to illustrate to me how our propositions differ. They both make a claim about why we should do something and the listener has as his choice to accept.

Capitalizing has the effect of making it seem like you're yelling and telling me that there is no OBJECTIVE source of morality without the PERFECT will of GOD HIMSELF doesn't prove your point anymore than it did the first time. I reject your foundational statement. How will you prove it?

Breckmin said...

"- 1)There is an eternal being watching you who is perfect goodness. If you choose him, he will grant you eternal bliss; if you reject him, you reject his perfect goodness and thus suffer eternal death. Therefore, I would do good if I were you."

This is an incorrect view of Christianity and is a performance based/works based soteriological structure
which will equally "suffer eternal death." Salvation is a gift, it is not based on "I would do good if I were
you." I'm sorry to nitpick here, but this is very important. The first part of "if you choose Him" is indeed
accurate..but what you are choosing is NOT "choosing to be good." What you are choosing is to be
forgiven. You do good as a product of being forgiven, never a means to being forgiven.

"- 2) We are humans and thus sentient beings capable of feeling physical and emotional pain and pleasure."

Not a valid argument to appeal to feeling (whether physical or emotional).

"We should act in such a way that avoids inflicting pain on others and that proactively seeks the happiness of others instead.:

Logic. Without God the English word "should" becomes the subject of dispute..because there is no
moral justification...and neither are their any consequences other than temporary ones which can
sometimes be avoided and endurable.

"Both of us are merely setting forth propositions;"

My assertion is based on philosophical consistency once you stand on the assumption of God's
logical Existence. It is not an argument for the existence of the Creator (that is a different argument).
It is merely an observation that there is no objective morality if there is no Creator or absolute
standard.

"just because you back yours up by something unseen and unverifiable does not make it an actual justification for any morality whatsoever."

It is verified in the hearts of men and women with God's Spirit. The point is philosophical consistency
once you enter into the monotheistic set of assumptions. Without the monotheistic assumption, regardless
of whether or not you believe in God, there is no legitimate way to justify an moral law.

"Case in point: I'm an atheist. How will you prove to me that there is a being who is both a person and at the same time a sort of immaterial 'concept' of goodness such that I need to compare all my actions to his/its standard?"

The point is that there IS no standard without God. If you don't believe in God then you must understand
that there is no objective standard for morality.


"What reason have I to accept your claim and therefore agree to your reason for morality?"

It is not a reason for morality, nor is it a justification or evidence for the Creator. What it is is an
identification that there is no objective standard to appeal to unless you enter into the agreed set
of assumptions that there is an Objective Creator.


"Show me a perfect example of goodness in this world such that I will know it is the work of this being. Hmmm, there is none?:"

Jesus Christ of Nazareth is a perfect example of goodness. He is the God in human flesh we are talking
about, and He was so good that He served us in the greatest way.

Breckmin said...

Simple questions:
"1) You inform me that an action can be both good and evil depending on how you look at it."

This is not a linear myopic proposal, however, this involves real choices which in and of themselves
are very complicated to address because of God's ability to interact with them. The work that God
is doing is always good (for His purposes). The disobedience that men are doing is always sin/evil
and God will logically punish it (even though the end result will be to glorify God by demonstrating and
declaring His Holiness).

"In application to the crucifixion, then, it was 'good' for the soldiers to torture Jesus since it worked for greater good of all mankind, correct?"

No. In fact God will logically punish those Roman Soldiers who do not become Christians and have their
sin forgiven.

Everything that happens in this temporary creation (even the evil choices) will logically glorify God in the
end. From this perspective would could say that "God will turn them to good" but this doesn't mean
that choices of sin are somehow not evil from man's point of view (the making of choices which violate
the Holy Nature of God).

"In other words, since, as you say, God is omnipresent through all time, he can see 'the big picture' and know that it would be for a greater good that Jesus died, right?"

He is God, men are not. Humans are commanded to obey and make choices consistent with God's
commandments.

The fact that men disobey and God knows what will(is happening) happen does not mean that it is
somehow not sin.

This may seem incoherent to you, but to the born-again Christian who is a theologian this is very
logical....because of commandments and obedience regardless of how God works this sin together
for good.

2) Given that the answer to number 1 was yes,

Not exactly.

"how does this prevent me from using harm to bring about a 'greater good'?"

You are commanded by God not to harm someone (unless self-defense or military obedience).

"If an action can be both 'evil' in it's immediate effect, but 'good' in it's long term effects,"

God alone has the right to turn evil to good...the creature is commanded to obey the Creator
and keep His Law.

"it seems that using humans as means to an end is justified."

"using humans" is evasive to the fact that these humans make real choices, number 1.
2. Only God has the right (who is Omniscient - while we could die at any moment and not
complete the ends) to have the ends justify the means in His universe which He Alone Owns.

"Why can't I yell at my wife when she doesn't do what I want and use bad names because I know that I have her best interests in mind and in the end,"

God may sunergei other people than your wife yelling at her to bring about a logical good end...but
that is because He Alone owns your wife and you do not cosmically own her. Your job as a creature
is to follow His commandments.


"motivating her by causing her to be dissatisfied with her present self, will cause a greater amount of holiness down the road?"

You are not omniscient...nor do you know if you will be able to complete the greater good down the
road...You also don't know how she will react as a complicated creature of volition.

Breckmin said...

"3) If through prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, I am brought to a perfect vision such that I saw a clear prophesy indicating that if I kill my best friend,"

This violates God's Law/Commandments.

"his family will absolutely be saved whereas without his death they would have never repented... should I do it? Should I at least hope for it? Should i hope someone else does it (like some Roman soldiers passing by)?"

You are not omniscient and God will never give you a revelation that violates His Holy Word.

In other words, it wouldn't be God or the Holy Spirit giving you this vision. It would be the enemies of
God deceiving you into violating His Law.

"4) If I, through prayer and meditation, receive a word from God commanding me to do something that is socially evil, what basis do you have for telling me that I can't?"

You can start with the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue). You can observe commandments all
through the scriptures. The answer is Divine Revelation through the prophets and the apostles.

"I answer only to the objective source of all absolute morality and heard through divine revelation that I should blow up an abortion clinic to save the innocent souls of hundreds of babies."

You could only do this if you were following the orders of your superior officer in a military service. I doubt
you will ever get these orders.

"We have the same boss and he obviously told me to do this, so you should probably pray more until he passes on the memo that this is what he told me."

In past experiences answering this question can drift into debating abortion itself so in order to stay on
topic I will pass on it (because of its complexity). On all activities/actions you should be obedient to
God's revealed Law through the scriptures. This is the way in which you test divine revelation.

"Point: you have not answered why a form of morality based on an unproven being is more compelling than one based on what we experience as humans. Happiness/pleasure and suffering/pain are given, a priori conditions of the human situation. No one has to rely on something unprovable for their moral source."

It doesn't matter whether to Objective Standard is provable or not. The point is a philosophical one
from the standpoint of philosophical consistency in proposing an actual Objective Standard (God).

If you have no Objective standard, then everything is relative to mere opinion and morality is
unjustifiable.

Hendy said...

@Breckmin:

I don't know if others find this, but debating you is a bit frustrating. I feel like I'm going in circles.

What matters in the end? If I live a perfect life as not to inflict suffering on anyone else and instead to maximize the happiness of those around me, will god, if he exists, fault me?

- I sought him but found him not

- I treated his creatures with respect and dignity because I respected their existence and capacity for pleasure and pain

What will he do with me? Do you hypothesize that I will go to hell while someone who does far worse will gain an eternal paradise simply because they believed in a doctrine on forgiveness?

Also, on your scale, a perfectly good atheist is worse off than a murderer who repents?

Gandolf said...

Hendy said... "@Breckmin:

I don't know if others find this, but debating you is a bit frustrating. I feel like I'm going in circles."

Its a type of circus,your now riding whats known as the "Breckmin faith" merry-go-round .. Feeling lil dizzy??

Go Classical theology!!

Gandolf said...

Beckmin said.."You can start with the Ten Commandments (the Decalogue). You can observe commandments all
through the scriptures. The answer is Divine Revelation through the prophets and the apostles."

But the prophets too only had use of their own "human standard", when they proclaimed these prophesies.

You too put your faith in these phophets "human standards",because you yourself possess no other (higher standard) than that of your own human standard, by way of which to judge it than that what you personally have.

Your faith is still merely built around your own standards mixed in with the standards of other humans some who were human prophet.

Because there is no "higher standard" available to you to use, by which you can prove you are actually able to judge, what might actually be right or wrong.

So it all still ammounts to guess work.


Hence why it sounds so stupid and circular when faithful folks try telling us somethings can be known about gods!,yet some things cant?.

So what "superior standard" do you have to suggest maybe humans can use, to try and judge standards exactly where the lines are supposed be drawn?.

A prophet??.

But hold on Breckmin,remember that standards still no more than human

Breckmin said...

"I don't know if others find this, but debating you is a bit frustrating. I feel like I'm going in circles."

I know that I am providing opposing argument..but from my perspective I am just answering questions within the agreed set of assumptions of born-again Christianity and it really doesn't seem like debating.

"What matters in the end?"

Eternal separation and punishment for everything you ever did wrong (both in thought and motive as well
as action).

Did wrong - means violate all of the commandments from the prophets.



"If I live a perfect life"

Impossible (Rom. 3:23,1 John 1:10)

"as not to inflict suffering on anyone else"

you will still be hurting yourself as well as creating an unpayable debt against a Holy Creator.

"and instead to maximize the happiness of those around me, will god, if he exists, fault me?"

Absolutely. He will fully demonstrate to you everything..and I mean everything you ever did wrong..starting with NOT obeying your parents perfectly.

"- I sought him but found him not"

If you truly sought God, you would get down on your face (and not just your knees)before Him and cry out to Him in all sincerity recognizing His Perfection and your own imperfection.

"- I treated his creatures with respect and dignity because I respected their existence and capacity for pleasure and pain"

Perfectly, even as a child? You never made fun of anyone? Even as a child?

What you don't perhaps understand is that it starts with "obedience" to a Holy and Righteous Creator.
His Holiness and Righteousness will be demonstrated/declared when He judges sinners (who did not receive forgiveness through Christ)
Perfectly.

"What will he do with me?"

Without Perfection in your place
He will logically separate you from His Holy Presence and judge you Perfectly (which is a bad thing from your perspective).


"Do you hypothesize that I will go to hell while someone who does far worse will gain an eternal paradise simply because they believed in a doctrine on forgiveness?"

I do NOT hypothesize this. Because of my factual knowledge of born-again Christianity being the One and Only true soteriological belief structure from interaction with the Creator in 1986 I KNOW it.

"Also, on your scale,"

On Jesus' scale. This salvation existed almost 2,000 years before I was born.

"a perfectly good atheist"

No such thing. (Romans 3: 10)

"is worse off than a murderer who repents?"

Absolutely. We are ALL sinners.

Repentence/salvation is the only option.

Question everything.

Breckmin said...

"But the prophets too only had use of their own "human standard", when they proclaimed these prophesies."

You are "assuming" they did not have divine revelation.

You are assuming that the Decalogue somehow did NOT come from God.

"But hold on Breckmin,remember that standards still no more than human"

It is because you do not believe in the God of Abraham that you conclude that His Law is just from humans.

What you don't realize is that this Law is meant to prove to you that you are a sinner.

You can not keep it perfectly your whole life. No one can. But you "can" keep it through God's power (but with the ball and chain of the flesh which is perishing you will be constantly tripped up).

The Law is to reveal to you like a "mirror" that you are indeed a sinner who NEEDS salvation. You need to be forgiven of your transgressions against the Law of God.

You need Jesus (and His Perfection/His Perfect Sacrifice for sins).

Gandolf said...

Breckmin said..."You are "assuming" they did not have divine revelation.

You are assuming that the Decalogue somehow did NOT come from God."

.............


Opps dreadfully sorry, im repentant.


Now were done with that.

Breckmin do you "assume" that this Decalogue somehow DiD come from God??.Do you "assume" the prophets DiD have divine guidence??.

See thats the problem we have here Breckman, whether you make an appeal to what you call prophets of "born again Christendom" or not,you have proof of no higher standard than a normal human standard being used.

1,Born again christians like to question the "standard" scientists and non believers use,when they debate matters of gods.

2,Then these very same "Born again christians" wish to use their own standard to impose limits, of what they wish to suggest we can supposedly know about gods, or can not be known about gods.

Born again christians 1, wish to first claim the right to set the limits, and then 2, claim the right to set the standard as well.

Its a licence for fraud.

Dont you see the utter hypocrisy of it all, sticking out like a great set of dogs balls Breckmin??


The thing is you can suggest i assume they did not have divine revelation etc.Thats fine.

But the fact is its really you thats doing all the assuming here first of all ,because you have yet to even prove! what good reason humanity should ever see to suggest you are not somehow just simply assuming matters yourself .Before you even start to prove what reasons there should be,to prove its not simply assuming matters, to think maybe the prophets had divine guidence.

Breckmin said..."It is because you do not believe in the God of Abraham that you conclude that His Law is just from humans.

What you don't realize is that this Law is meant to prove to you that you are a sinner."

................

Beckmin i think you do a great injustice to seem to simply judge people as such, without giving it enough thought.

I dont see reason to believe in the god of Islam,Hinduism,Thor,or Maori gods Ranginui and Papatūānuku either

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_tree_of
_the_M%C4%81ori_gods

And if thats such a real crime,then you Breckmin, are just as guilty of some of the very same type of thing yourself.You dont believe the laws of gods of Hinduism or Ranginui and Papatūānuku either do you.

1,The "Maori" could claim gods were more interested in matters concerned with conservation of the planet.

2,You a "born again christian" go and claim the God of Abraham Law is meant to prove to you that you are a sinner

You too "conclude" Ranginui and Papatūānuku Law is just from humans

So Breckmin what the heck are we really chasing around and around here Red Herrings or freaking Spanish Mackerel ?#@??

Cant you see how circular this type of reasoning is.Christian simply assume something,and then convict any people who question it as being criminal! for assuming it could be wrong.

By using your standard, it could be a dreadful crime also too, that people assume the idea of pink unicorns is untrue

We cannot prove pink unicorns dont exist somewhere in the universe right? ....And maybe somewhere in the universe buried gold is actually the cause of rainbows too right?

ric said...

What kind of God would come to earth, be tortured, then killed, what kind of god is that? I don't want anything to do with that kind of god - Richard Dawkings

Answer.

The kind of love that would die for you