A Simple Example of Relative Morality

Liberal Atheist: It is wrong to condemn homosexuality as sinful and unnatural!

Conservative: Why is it wrong? My church says it is the right thing to do.

Liberal Atheist: Your church’s backward cultural background has skewed your perception. It is clear that condemning people’s lifestyle choices is ethically wrong and immoral from an absolute standpoint.

Conservative: But what about condemning my opinions? What about my right to free speech?

Liberal Atheist: Look, it is clearly wrong to hold bigoted opinions like yours.

Conservative: And where did you get your convictions from? Would it happen to be your culture?

Liberal Atheist: Maybe so. But my convictions are correct!

Conservative: I can claim that mine are too. What makes your culture automatically any more correct? Aren’t all cultures ‘equal’ according to your own multicultural tolerance and political correctness?

Liberal Atheist: Fine. You have a right to your own interpretation, but you are wrong.

Conservative: 2 billion Communists say I am right. Most Christian groups say I am right. Muslims say I am right too. Those two groups add around another 2 billion. And most of the traditional societies across the world, even today. That’s a few dozen to your one. Your culture seems to be the odd one out, and therefore likely wrong.

Liberal Atheist: My culture is far superior to those backward ones!

Conservative: So you’re saying that, based on your opinion and nothing else, you are correct and I am wrong?

Liberal Atheist: I know you are wrong.

Conservative: How?

Liberal Atheist: Because the conscience I have tells me so. I can feel that your bigoted views are wrong!

Conservative: Well, my conscience tells me the opposite. I can feel it too. What criteria makes your opinion or ‘feeling’ any more correct or inassailable than mine? Let me just ask you, aren’t you a human just like me? Just a product of random evolution, as you like to claim?

Liberal Atheist: Yes.

Conservative: Then what makes you any superior to me… Are you a higher life form with superior DNA, Mr. Magneto?

Liberal Atheist: Lay off the sarcasm! You get your so-called morals from an obsolete book of religious myths and lies.

Conservative: And where do you get yours? From your own reading and talks with like-minded peers?

Liberal Atheist: Yes. From debating and weighing the issues based on naturalistic and atheistic principles – not on the rantings of some ancient scam artists, that you were dogmatically indoctrinated in as a child during Sunday School brainwashings.

Conservative: Naturalistic and atheistic? That is to say, the culture that you grew up in, were indoctrinated in and adopted the dogma of?

Liberal Atheist: Well… It’s a logical and progressive mindset that…

Conservative: So why is your culture automatically more correct than mine? What absolute standard are you judging our cultures by?

Liberal Atheist: Um… It’s correct because… Of advances in ethical theory…

Conservative: And that, you see, is the problem with not having an absolute standard to judge by. Religious nuts like me at least can claim to mindlessly obey an infinite God who chose the rules – regardless of the everchanging culture or human opinion of the time. We can’t modify the rules of morality He made, any more than we can defy the rules of physics He also made. Our opinions or cultural beliefs have no say in changing these absolute laws.

Liberal Atheist: That’s tyrannical.

Conservative: As for you, you have no right to judge that your culture’s moral opinions are any better than the opinions of Christians, Muslims, traditional societies or… Me! The standards of relative morality have changed over time according to which cultural norms are in place. I ask you, wasn’t homosexuality considered a travesty in the past?

Liberal Atheist: Yes, but that was because they were unenlightened! They also considered women and blacks inferior.

Conservative: I agree that they were wrong to discriminate based on gender or race. So the cultural opinions of the past are wrong and your cultural opinions today are correct?

Liberal Atheist: Yes, exactly! We have finally reached the stage where we can be ethically fair and unbiased. Totally unbigoted!

Conservative: But isn’t that a supremely arrogant assumption? Isn’t that probably exactly what the ancient cultures thought of themselves?

Liberal Atheist: But they were obviously wrong…

Conservative: I mean, we haven’t gone all the way yet on the personal freedoms scale. We’ve granted women, blacks and gays equal rights, but what about the other people who are still rejected by society at large? Let me ask you, how about incest? Why do you continue to discriminate against incestuous relationships, if you’re so ‘enligtened’ and ‘freedom loving’?

Liberal Atheist: How uneducated and ignorant are you? Incest results in birth defects due to the closely related genes! It is for humanitarian reasons that we consider incest to be morally wrong.

Conservative: Ah, but it seems that you are the uneducated and ignorant one here. Research shows that children born from incestuous relationships are only about as likely to have birth defects as those born from 40-year old women. Are you going to ban middle aged women from having children too, on ‘humanitarian’ grounds?

Liberal Atheist: Well… There’s the emotional abuse of power issue if it’s between a parent and a child…

Conservative: I’ll cut both that argument and the previous  one about birth defects short. What about two adult, similar-aged siblings of the same gender engaging in incest, hm? Can you condemn that on any valid grounds? That avoids any pregnancy or power abuse issues.

Liberal Atheist: I suppose that I can’t. Let them have it their way then, if they’re both mature and willing individuals.

Conservative: And yet, even liberals balk at the idea of incest – even if they have no humanist basis for rejecting it. Isn’t that discrimination against sexual choices right there?

Liberal Atheist: Okay, so fine. Modern society is not perfectly fair and unbiased yet – but it eventually will be! Whereas religious dogma like yours is static and stubborn with its so-called ‘absolute’ morals handed down by some imaginary being to some charlatan thousands of years ago! At least we can evolve – your ancient beliefs will eventually die out.

Conservative: All right, I’ll give you that religion’s absolute morals are incapable of ‘evolving’. But is that a bad thing? Can you tell me, by your standards, what is wrong with bestiality? Won’t society ‘progress’ to the point where one day, sex with animals is considered an inassailable human right? And the culture of the future will condemn today’s culture for persecuting zoophiliacs.

Liberal Atheist: Your argument is totally flawed, as animals cannot make concious decisions – any more than a child can. What, are you going to support paedophilia next?

Conservative: But that’s just the level of research so far… In the future, what if they find that dogs or chimpanzees or dolphins are sentient enough to consent to sex with humans in a way that is not controlled solely by instinct? A concious decision? Then wouldn’t it be wrong to deny them the free choice to have sex with willing humans?

Liberal Atheist: You’re nuts. Sick and disgusting.

Conservative: And your culture will be considered backwards and unenlightened. Whereas, even a thousand years from now, religious believers like me will still say: “It is wrong to have sex with animals, because God says so!” It won’t matter to us what the prevailing culture is like, or how much it condemns or assails us – bestiality will be as detestable in our sight as it has been for three thousand years. And we won’t give a Moonbat’s awhat the day’s fad culture says about us. Just like we don’t now. Liberal Atheist: Cuh! I can see that, you fundie bigot. Conservative: Your culture is fleeting, your opinions finite. And so are mine – so neither of us has any absolute advantage over the other. But God’s will is forever and His opinions infinite. They are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And even if those are just my opinions, by the standards of relative morality no one can say I am definitely wrong. Least of all you. ——————- See also this satire for the logical conclusion of relative morality. From Diversity Lane: 209 Responses to “A Simple Example of Relative Morality” 1. Samuel Skinner Says: All cultures aren’t equal (slavery is bad for exmple- take that you Confeds!) I’m not multicultural- I only believe other cultures stories, foods, festivals and the like are okay. The command and control systems can be dumped. Free speech is a privilege. We were privilege to be born in a country that recognizes you have the right to be an idiot. If said idiocy threatens said society though… say good bye to your free speech. Simple- It is wrong to hate people for no reason. “But they are homosexuals!” Sexual orientation isn’t any better reason than skin color. ” But this is enough!” Why? See- that is an example of reason and debate. Evolution, by definition isn’t random. Mutations are random. I am better than you. You see my actions are to insure the best results possible. Your actions seem to be to keep your precious belief in immortality alive, no matter how many innocents suffer. And do you know what we call someone who causes pain and suffering for their own benefit? Evil. Pedophilia is wrong. Not sure what the situation is with bestality is. Hint-Having sex with kids is wrong for the same reason rape is. The bible provides an absolute moral guide right? Which interpretation? What makes you think morality will continue to change? Certain extremely progressive individuals had similar opinions to those of ours today. Why do you assume we aren’t much better than the past. 2. Scott Thong Says: All cultures aren’t equal But we judge this based on our own cultural upbringing and biases. ————————– I’m not multicultural- I only believe other cultures stories, foods, festivals and the like are okay. The command and control systems can be dumped. Just for this statement, I’d vote for you for Prez ’08 over Obama or Hillary. Or McCain. But my blog post pointing out the invalidity of multiculturalists judging other ‘unenlightened’ cultures stands. Did you think I wrote it just for you? ————————– Simple- It is wrong to hate people for no reason. “But they are homosexuals!” Sexual orientation isn’t any better reason than skin color. ” But this is enough!” Why? Agreed to completely. Hate should only be reserved for ACTS of injustice and evil. The person who commits such crimes should themself be loved, even as their acts are condemned. Christians who ‘hate’ homosexuals have a long, long way to learn. But as for why Christians consider homosexuality as forbidden by God: It’s there, stated directly, in several places in the Bible… Both Old and New Testament. Sodom and Gomorrah were smited for their flagrant homosexuality, to the point of trying to rape two angels who were disguised as young men. The only permitted sexual relations in the Bible are between a husband and wife. Any sexual contact outside that marriage – be it before marriage, with another woman, with a man, with a child, with an animal – is considered sin. Whereas not one Bible verse commands or justifies racism. I have to quote the following, since you probably aren’t familiar with Biblical texts: There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:28 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. – Colossians 3:11 The KKK intentionally neglected verses like these in order to justify their actions. And before charge in shooting at Galatians 3:28’s ‘neither male nor female’ as supproting transexuality, do know that the verse is in the context of being united and equal members in the Christian faith. ————————– You see my actions are to insure the best results possible. Your actions seem to be to keep your precious belief in immortality alive, no matter how many innocents suffer. And do you know what we call someone who causes pain and suffering for their own benefit? Evil. But see, that’s the whole problem with non-absolute standards. You THINK your actions are to insure the best results posisble. But how effective are your actions really? How do you define ‘best results’? You are judging by YOUR own opinions what should be done, in order to achieve goals that YOU decide are best. How are you so certain that your opinion really, objectively, factually IS the best? And not biased in any way by your cultural background? What if someone who will be affected by your plan disagrees? Is he insane or immoral for not being as enlightened and wise as you? How is this any different from a Christian activist who sincerely believes that homosexuality leads to a broken life in the long run? He believes his actions are to insure the ‘best’ results possible. And taken to extreme, we get back to Stalin and Mao again – you think they didn’t sincerely believe that Communism was the action needed to insure the best results for all mankind? You yourself support abortion as not-murder, whereas I see it as innocents suffering as the doctor’s blade slices into their already-formed, 24-week old brain. Torturing and murdering babies – WHO ALREADY CAN SURVIVE OUTSIDE THE WOMB – so that you aren’t burdened by a dependent child. And do you know what we call someone who causes pain and suffering for their own benefit? ————————– Pedophilia is wrong. Not sure what the situation is with bestality is. Hint-Having sex with kids is wrong for the same reason rape is. Both are currently wrong because children an animals cannot make a concious, mature decision to engage in sex. (Wrong only in certain nations – pedophilia is widespread in the Third World. Zoophilia is totally legal in many European countries – aren’t they the liberal state role models?) So if in the future, some treatment makes dogs smart enough that they have the intelligence of an average human, and they are fully capable of conciously and maturely seekign sex with a similarly concious and mature thinking human… Does this make it morally right? The Christian says no, simply because God says bestiality is wrong. Period. Forever. What do you say? —————————- The bible provides an absolute moral guide right? Which interpretation? The one not adhered to by secular humanists, liberals, New Age everything-goes followers, hedonists and antinomianists. —————————- What makes you think morality will continue to change? Certain extremely progressive individuals had similar opinions to those of ours today. Why do you assume we aren’t much better than the past. Why do you assume that we are so good, we have no room for future improvement? We’ve been changing throughout all history – women’s suffrage, racial equality, religious freedom. Isn’t it hubris to assume that this very decade we live in just happens to be the final evolution of moral enlightenment? It’s like the U.S. patent office employee who said: “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” That was allegedly in 1899. —————————— Satisfied with my reply? Or just going to skip it due to it being too bothersome to actually take the time to read and understand what I said? 3. Samuel Skinner Says: Yes, but there is objective standards. No- I’m just naturally self centered. What you claim for why homosexuality is wrong isn’t morality- it is obedience. And if you can’t explain why it is wrong, then it is mindless obedience. If there is anything history shows us, mindless obedience is evil. Okay “the good of humankind” is abstract, but it is absolute. It doesn’t change. Said means to achieving it may change, but that is what happens in the real world. Because we don’t know everything we have to adapt to reality. You see the difference between me and your examples is a thing called evidence. Evidence is important. Bestality is a non issue to me. Why should I care about it? You just did it. You killed irony. I am guilty of assuming that we are more advanced than any other time in history, while you are humble with god’s divine laws to his creation? Sarcasm aside I think we are better- not perfect- but better than any other time in history. You don’t answer which interpretation… odd, since you accuse me of cowardice. Still don’t answer the question. Look at this if you are positive. http://atheism.about.com/b/2008/02/05/what-do-people-believe-about-the-ten-commandments.htm Yeah- it is from an evil “secular humanist”. Guy happens to be factually correct though. Look and then respond to me. You will either ignore it, change your mind or rationalize (rationizing can be… interesting) 4. Scott Thong Says: 1) Plenty arguments against homosexuality, but frankly, if someone is convinced it is right (or wrong), no amount of persuasion will change their mind. 2) Same goes for the atheist or the Christian. Each is convinced they are right and the other is being obstinate. 3) Therefore, whatever we have discussing is purely rhetorical – neither of us will give in anytime soon. 4) There MUST be better sites than the one you recommended. Are there any atheist polemics who have actually studied the Bible and Christian doctrine and theology? Exodus 20: Ten Commandments first given. Exodus 34: The covenant renewed and more explanation given. These aren’t even supposed to be the Ten Commandments, of course they don’t look similar. Duh. Deuteronomy 5 is where I realize that the writer of the link you gave is A TOTAL NOOB. The Ten Commandments list is almost 100% the same, word for word, as the list in Exodus 20. The only difference is the extra explanation given for why the Sabbath must be kept holy – Exodus 20 has God saying He rested on the seventh day, Deuteronomy 5 has Moses saying to remember how they were slaves in Egypt. How does this make the Ten Commandments different? And how does any of this affect the meaning of what is said? “Do not murder, do not bow down to idols, do not covet.” It’s not exactly lawyer legalese here – wtf does the writer mean ‘Protestant, Catholic or Jewish alternatives’??? Last I checked, each group interprets them the same. Why are you even quoting this link? It’s completely off its kilter on ‘interpretations’. It only serves to harden the convictions of people who are already critical of Christianity and won’t even bother to CHECK if what he says is true. READ THE LINKS AND THE BIBLE VERSES THEY ‘QUOTE’ BEFORE USING THEM TO ATTEMPT TO BASH CHRISTIANITY. Do any Christian groups actually use the Ten Commandments as their only basis for law in life? It doesn’t even say anything about homosexuality, no? Interpretations do not matter, as they are relative – God’s intention is still absolute, even if we are total twerps who misinterpret everything and cause Him a big headache. Seriously, if you want to criticize my logic from your own wisdom, that’s fair. But don’t waste my time with such poorly researched criticisms of the Bible. Because you aren’t good at it, you don’t seem to put much effort into it. The reason I have to rationalize it is because the explanations given at your link are irrational. Factually correct? YA RITE!!! Only to self-rationalizers who don’t look past the first click. 5. Samuel Skinner Says: 1 Arguements are nice 2 Arguements are nice 3 Yes rhetoric is important when statements are without substance Well, if God wrote them, why are they different? He knows in advance what to write- he only has to do it once. By contrast changing slightly or being “a new covenant” is exactly what you would expect of a HUMAN DESIGNED legal system. Interpretations are all the world. You are defending your interpretation and I am defending mine (yep, atheism has an interpretation- it is mythology being the main thrust). So It appears unless you can show why only your interpretation is right, you have no way of being a Christian. You know that God’s intention is absolute… based on your interpretation. Let me get this straight- when something in the bible is consistant than it is proof of infallibility, but when something changes its a new covenant? That my friend is rationalization. I can’t argue with you effectively because there is no substance behind your words. I can state what I believe and why- by contrast you can only parrot like a communist or libertarian. 6. Atheists Are Without Excuse « pauljub Says: […] thinking about absolute truth versus moral relativism while you read this fictional conversation: A Simple Example of Relative Morality Posted by pauljub Filed in Christian, Religion, atheism ·Tags: atheism, China, […] 7. nixam Says: Brilliant one Scotty.. as if atheism was just short of one real conversation to shake off the veil…. 8. After Homosexuality, Sexual Revolutionary Frank Kameny Moves on to Making Bestiality ‘Normal’ « BUUUUURRRRNING HOT Says: […] to Making Bestiality ‘Normal’ What was I saying about liberal, atheist, humanist, relativistic morality meaning that bestiality is next in line to become an ‘inalienable ethical and moral […] 9. anonymous Says: Conservative: Why is it wrong? My church says it is the right thing to do. Me:Because it hurts homosexuals unjustly. Conservative: And where did you get your convictions from? Me:From empathy and compassion. Conservative: What absolute standard are you judging our cultures by? Me: By how much suffering they cause and how much they care about people rather than regulations. Conservative: I mean, we haven’t gone all the way yet on the personal freedoms scale. We’ve granted women, blacks and gays equal rights, but what about the other people who are still rejected by society at large? Let me ask you, how about incest? Me: Incest is not bad. I see no reason why it would be bad for a couple to be related to each other other than the effects of inbreeding, which can be avoided with birth control and if the couple wish to have children they can adopt or use a sperm donor. Conservative: Can you tell me, by your standards, what is wrong with bestiality? Me: Nothing, as long as the animal in question is ok with it. 10. Scott Thong Says: Can you tell me, by your standards, what is wrong with bestiality? Me: Nothing, as long as the animal in question is ok with it. Unfortunately, society is still too unenlightened to aceept interspecies relationships. Imagine the people electing a candidate who runs on the LEGALIZE SEX WITH GOATS platform. 11. anonymous Says: It took time to legalize inter-race relationships, it is taking time to legalize intra-sex relationships, it will take time to legalize inter-species relationships. It is unfortunate that society cannot be enlightened on all things in an instant, but for now we must do what we can to guide it along the upward road to liberty and compassion. 12. Scott Thong Says: So when will pedophilia be legalized? Btw, inter-race relationships can result in viable offspring. You try that with intra-sex and inter-species, and that’s the human race extinct in one generation for ya. 13. 124816 Says: If you define pedophilia as sex with someone below a certain age (the legal age varies between countries from 12 in Mexico and the Philippines to 18 in some of the states of the USA) , then it should be legalised when people realise that age and maturity are different things, that different people mature in different ways and at diffferent rates, and, therefore, that a “one-size-fits-all” age limit is just a one-size-doesn’t-quite-fit-anyone age limit. If you meant molestation or sexual abuse or exploitation of those not mature enough to understand and protect themselves, that’s a form of rape, a cruel act that causes great suffering. It is morally reprehensible and those who commit it need to be locked away for the protection of others. There is a world of difference between a consensual sexual relationship and exploiting someone’s lack of maturity. Intra-sex and inter-species relationships don’t naturally result in viable offspring, but nor do all inter-sex intra-species ones. Offering people the choice to have an intra-sex or inter-species relationship doesn’t mean everyone will take that option – I suspect the majority wouldn’t. We are already producing more than enough children to compensate for population decrease due to death, and those who are in relationships that won’t produce viable offspring can adopt some of the many orphans and homeless children, and when there aren’t any left they can use sperm donors or IVF. 14. Scott Thong Says: My point, rather, is that inter-racial relationships are clearly natural in that all races of humanity are the same species which can succesfully reproduce. Whereas intra-sex and inter-species relationships are clearly unviable. 15. 124816 Says: Yes, inter-race relationships can result in successful reproduction, and intra-sex and inter-species relationships do not result in viable offspring. I do not see the relevance of these facts. 16. Scott Thong Says: No relevance really, exceot to point out that there’s no way to seriously argue that intra-sex relationships are natural. 17. 124816 Says: Natural? Maybe not, but a lot of things aren’t. A lot of medicines aren’t found naturally, or are modified from natural compounds to remove side effects of increase effectiveness, or aren’t available in sufficient quantities from natural sources. Computers, cars, soap, clocks, and arguably even fire are unnatural. I don’t see that whether something is natural is that important to whether it’s morally acceptable. 18. data Says: Well, the muslims believe in this natural: “Glory to Him who caused His servant to travel by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque, whose precincts We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs, He is indeed the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. ” The meaning ascribed to this verse is that “the furthest mosque” (al-masgid al-aqsa) is in Jerusalem and that Mohammad was conveyed there one night (although at that time the journey took three days by camel,) on the back of al-Buraq, a magical horse with the head of a woman, wings of an eagle, the tail of a peacock, and hoofs reaching to the horizon. ________________ Sigh, we still haventt got to see the goat god Pan (who learnt masturbation from his father, Hermes, and taught the habit to his beloved shepherds-who must have in turn taught the rest of man). Then theres the Hindu God Vishnu who was able to turn himself into a Boar. 19. Robert Says: Sound’s great and it all fits together when you’re talking to yourself, eh Scott? What a pathetic, morally bankrupt excuse for a human being you and the Cons like you truly are. And so predictable. You all love to paint these extreme scenarios then hang them on what you consider to be your adversaries necks then demand an explanation from them. We are onto you and everyone like you, Scott. That’s why you’ve all been insignificant losers since November. Do yourself a favor. Start thinking and acting like a mature adult. 20. Scott Thong Says: A mature adult like you, Robert? Well then, I had better get to commenting indignantly on the blogs of people whose views I disagree with then, and remember to throw in a few insults! (Of course, that actually is the liberal standard of adult behaviour, if the response of leading liberal media personalities to people like Coulter, Malkin, Palin, Rush and Prejean is anything to judge by ! 😛 ) And by the way, on our insignificance… Obama’s Approval Index Hits Zero Nov ’08 to May ’09 sees Republicans catch up with Democrats in polls – thanks Obama! 21. Robert Says: Oh please. You load your questions/answers to insult the intelligence of most American with the exception of your dwindling minority; then you stand aghast and slighted when you are called to task and identified for what you truly are. If I may quote a post from another blog that wraps it up quite well: “For all you teabaggers out there I have some bad news for you. First of all, you are a minority, not some mass movement with broad appeal. The last election proved it and the results from New York reinforced it as well. You can all rally at The Capital and teabag each other all you want. The fact is that your movement will never see any results at the ballot box, which if you’re not paying attention is where it really counts. But please, don’t let that stop you. Go ahead and run your nutball heros like Sarah Palin. Waste your time and money. At the voting booth the average American will vote based on common sense and reject your whole ideology. You people are not a political movement. You more resemble a bowel movement. All you are are angry little monkeys flinging shit about spouting gibberish to anyone who will listen. ” Go check your numbers again, pal, outside of your right wing sources. 22. Scott Thong Says: Oh please. You load your questions/answers to insult the intelligence of most American with the exception of your dwindling minority; then you stand aghast and slighted when you are called to task and identified for what you truly are. Who’s a dwindling minority? From Gallup Poll October 2009 report, 40% of America identifies as Conservative versus just 20% Liberal. Americans, by a 2-to-1 margin, say their political views in recent years have become more conservative rather than more liberal, 39% to 18%, with 42% saying they have not changed. For the first time in recent years, voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on all 10 key electoral issues regularly tracked by Rasmussen Reports. And Rasmussen finds that voters are viewing ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ less and less favourably while they still think highly of that Conservative of Conservatives, Ronald Reagan. I’ve checked my numbers, or rather Gallup and Rasmussen and even the liberal-leaning Washington Post have checked them, and apparently my ‘not a political movement’ trumps yours in being ‘a mass movement with broad appeal’. The last election proved it and the results from New York reinforced it as well. Go check your numbers again, pal, outside of your right wing sources. Maybe you should check outside your left wing sources, as last I heard the Dems scored one with NY (with special thanks to turncoat distraction Dede Scozzafava. As Ann Coulter snarks, “Congratulations, Democrats — you won a congressional seat in New York! Next up: A Catholic elected pope!” Meanwhile, the GOP scored two with Virginia and New Jersey – both given heavy campaigning by Obama to little avail. So it seems that my ‘angry little monkeys’ also manage to see better ‘results at the ballot box’ than yours. And speaking of Obama… 44 point drop in approval rating anyone? Ignorance? Or just fearful denial? So come on… Go ahead and disregard facts, figures and reality. But isn’t it us religious kooks who are supposed to be doing that? lololol! 23. Robert Says: Oh Scott! I am so sorry! For a moment there I thought that the American people elected a Democratic President and majority in the House and Senate while the Right continues to cannibalize itself on a daily basis! You see, Scott, there is what is and there ain’t what you wish for. 24. Scott Thong Says: Yes, but can they hold on into 2010 and 2012? At the rate they’re going wrecking jobs, the economy, energy and healthcare and snobbishly insulting everyone who doesn’t agree with their far left views… President Obama’s approval rating dropped 44 points since he was elected, to reach -14 at its lowest and is currently at -10 as we speak. 66% are angry and 36% very angry with his policies. Note that 66% is more than the 46% popular vote McCain got, so at least some of these ‘angry monkeys’ are former Obamaphiles. 54 percent believe the next President will be Republican (meaning they don’t want Obama reelected). Again, this is more than the popular vote against Obama for the 2008 Election. Better root out those DINOs! For the Dem-supermajority Congress, 53% rate them as poor while 42% think they’re corrupt – both increased since 2008. Speaker Pelosi gets a 58% unfavourable. As for liberals as a whole… Now 40% of America identifies as Conservative versus just 20% Liberal. Twice as many say their views have shifted right than left. More people view the word ‘progressive’ unfavourably, with ‘liberal’ the worst and the only term viewed more negatively than positively! Being an admitted religious fanatic, I admit to the dire sin of basing my outlook on actual data. How about you, o logic and facts based atheist? Keep on being complacent in your assumed numerical superiority. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with keeping your focus firmly entrenched in the bygone glory days of (literally) yesteryear… The Muslims have being doing that for the last 1000 years. But we shall wait for 2010 to see, yes? Fun times await! 25. Miranda Says: You never responded to 124816’s last post, Scott. I see many responses from people who feel similarly to the way that I do but who phrase their beliefs in a way that doesn’t adequately explain them and resort to ad hominem attacks; these responses, you rip to shreds, as (justifiably) you should. However, a completely respectful commenter with valid points on this page sees the last point he/she made utterly ignored with no intention of debate, while other inflammatory comments were later retorted against with fact-checking. I’m not sure whether overlooking his/her comment was intentional, but after having read a few of your entries and deciding that the conversations they spark have great potential, I’m interested in what your reply would be to 124816’s last statement. I acknowledge that perhaps you didn’t respond to it because it offered nothing to which you felt the need to directly respond, in which case I’ll end my comment with a question derived from the content of 124816’s statement: What makes the “naturalness” of something a relevant factor in deciding whether or not it is either morally acceptable or morally reprehensible? 26. Scott Thong Says: Okay, looking back at the thread, I honestly think that my attention was distracted by far more provocative commentor Robert. In fact, I did just happen to read that comment again a short while back – but again it was because Robert made a comeback after so long and started trolling again, which led me to track down where else he had commented on my blog. In any case, let me explain how I would respond to 124816’s last comment. 124816’s last comment is a form of the equivocation logical fallacy – he/she conflates two different applications of the word ‘unnatural’: A) ‘Unnatural’ referring to anything and everything that is created or influenced by humans, as opposed to things that occur without any human input. This is what 124816 goes on about is his/her last comment about household appliances and daily amenities. B) ‘Unnatural’ within the context of reproduction – that is, whether or not nature/evolution/God ‘intended’ for certain individuals to mate or not. This is what I was talking about when I said that homosexuality and bestiality are clearly ‘unnatural’ – as both cases would result in no viable offspring, thus defeating the purposes of life forms (survive and create more of your kind), evolution (propagate your genes to the next generation), and God creating humanity (go forth and multiply). Intentionally or not, 124816 confused these two different definitions/usages of the term, which led to his/her last comment arguing that we as humans resort to many ‘unnatural’ things in our daily lives. Whereas my actual argument is merely that certain sexual relationships are aberrations of the norm. Neither is my argument that everything ‘not natural’ is immoral – that is a straw man argument, as it conflates two separate positions of mine: 1) That homosexuality and bestiality are clearly ‘unnatural’, that is, they are dead ends in terms of propagation of the genes and the species. 2) Homosexuality and bestiality are, in my own personal opinion, immoral based on a JudeoChristian worldview. My comment preceding 124816’s first comment may have thrown him/her and others off my actual beliefs. That comment was an offhand, casual remark and was not intended to link naturalness, legality and morality in any way. In my blog and comments, the first point I focus on often simply because advocates of homosexuality (and other forms of sexuality) often try and argue that a homosexual preference is caused completely by genes, and not at all by environmental influences. Often they will point to occurrences of cross-species matings or homosexuality in animals. This argument allows them to argue that homosexuality is therefore ‘natural’ (in both A and B definitions as I described above, i.e. it arises without conscious human input and is intended by nature), and cannot be changed (e.g. through therapy, psychiatry, religious faith, Godly miracles). I thus rebutt that homosexuality is unlikely to be caused solely by genes, as purely homosexual individuals would not pass down any of their genes – including the ones that predispose them towards homosexuality – to any offspring. Two men simply cannot produce genetic offspring. The same would go for bestiality – a human and a dog cannot produce genetic offspring. Hence my remark that intra-sex and inter-species matings are ‘unnatural’ within the context of reproduction. I seldom ever argue using the second point, as I hold to neutral objectivity and thus understand that my worldview is not necessarily accepted as automatically correct. So far, I have only ever used the Bible in the context of debating those who insist that the Bible permits or accepts homosexuality. In such cases, it is permissible because we are debating within the context of Christianity which we both already accept as correct. Instead, as can be seen in this blog post, I prefer to take the line of argument that if one does not have any set-in-stone standard against which to measure morality, then how does one decide whether anything is moral or not? If everyone is entitled to their own, equally valid opinion and there is not referee who has the final say, how can anyone claim their opinion to be indisputably correct? In any case, I find your input thought provoking, and it renews my interest in long-dead threads. You are welcome to browse around and raise issues on any other posts! 27. Adifferentview Says: I think Scott just buried 124816’s comment. RIP. 28. Miranda Says: First of all, thank you for taking the time to respond so thoroughly–not only to my comment on this post, but to the comment I left on another, as well–especially since I seem to be floundering through old material. You’ve obviously been at this for a very long time and I most certainly haven’t, and I respect that you’ve taken the time to educate yourself and form strong arguments. I realize now that much of the content of your responses is “snarky” by your own admission, but it’s also very well thought out and refreshing to read. I’m fairly young and in the process of developing my own such beliefs and arguments, and when I’m more educated, myself, I’m sure it would be of great benefit to me to have constructive and thoughtful dialogue with you. ‘Til then, keep doing what you do and I’ll be following your blog closely. 29. Adifferentview Says: Miranda….as a matter of interest, do you know what it means to mirandize someone? 30. Scott Thong Says: Miranda, I appreciate and am flattered by your praise. I’d just like to note that while I often take a ‘snarky’ or otherwise unserious tone with many of my posts, I also occasionally churn out wholly serious arguments. It just depends on my mood and the subject matter. Replies to comments are also influenced by the tone the commentor takes – I try not to be the first to resort to mocking and refrain from direct insults. 31. PersoninNY Says: Nope. In reality, the conversation would probably look more like this: Liberal Atheist: It is wrong to condemn homosexuality as sinful and unnatural! Conservative: Why is it wrong? My church says it is the right thing to do. Liberal Atheist: Because it effectivley demonizes otherwise innocent people who have no control over thier sexual orientation, that’s why. Conservative: But what about condemning my opinions? What about my right to free speech? Liberal Atheist: Just like everyone else, you’re free to your opinions. However, that doesn’t stop me from calling them out as the bigoted ideas that they are. Conservative: And where did you get your convictions from? Would it happen to be your culture? Liberal Atheist: Much like you, that played a part in it. However, my personal philosophies and experiences also shaped said convictions as well. Conservative: I can claim the same. What makes your culture\convictions automatically any more correct? Aren’t all cultures\convictions ‘equal’, according to your own multicultural tolerance and political correctness? Liberal Atheist: All cultures aren’t equal for the simple fact that practices and values tend to vary greatly. With regards to ‘correctness’, such a concept is to vague to have any real meaning in this context. However, if you mean to speak from a standpoint of morality, I can say that my convictions are more moral, if for no other reason than they don’t glorify the undue persecution of innocent people… And so on… 32. Scott Thong Says: Liberal Atheist: Because it effectivley demonizes otherwise innocent people who have no control over thier sexual orientation, that’s why. Pedophilic, necrophilic, zoophilic, sado-masochistic bondage enthusiast: THEN WHY AM I STILL DEMONIZED FOR MY NATURALLY DETERMINED SEXUAL ORIENTATION!!!! 33. PersoninNY Says: Pedophilic, necrophilic, zoophilic, sado-masochistic bondage enthusiast: THEN WHY AM I STILL DEMONIZED FOR MY NATURALLY DETERMINED SEXUAL ORIENTATION!!!! Liberal Atheist: Because your orientations have become assosciated with potential harm to innocent people\non-human animals, especially if\when acted upon… 34. Scott Thong Says: Necrophiliac: My partners have never complained. Zoophiliac’s dogs: Woof woof! (We enjoy it!) Violent serial rapist: Yeah, my judge agrees that I have no real control over my genetically predetermined urges so that’s an exonerating factor. ————————— Srsly though, I see nothing wrong with homosexuality between consenting adults in a humanistic sense. Rather, this post is a snark at naturalistic basis for morality. If you’ll note, in my blog I only ever debate the matter of homosexuality on three terms: 1) What Judeo-Christianity says about it (IMHO they consider it wrong), 2) Whether it is ‘natural’ (in the sense of being a positive factor that contributes to the propagation of genes as per Darwinistic evolution; IMHO it is not) 3) Whether the lifestyle associated with it (in practice, not in idealistic theory) contributes to health hazards (IMHO it does) 35. PersoninNY Says: Necrophiliac: My partners have never complained. Zoophiliac’s dogs: Woof woof! (We enjoy it!) Violent serial rapist: Yeah, my judge agrees that I have no real control over my genetically predetermined urges so that’s an exonerating factor Liberal Atheist: Well, so what, Necrophiliac? Would the people\non-human animals have allowed such a thing if they were alive? What about the assosciated families? Even if you wouldn’t mind having your corpse treated in such a way upon death, would they? Regarding Zoophiliac’s dogs, so what? There are plenty of dogs to breed with, so such actions are un-necessary. Even if that’s untrue, it’s still potentially damaging to you, physiologically. As for you, Violent serial rapist, if you cannot control your genetically pre-determined urges, then you are unfit to live in society with other people who can. Not only are you not exonerated, but seeing as how your actions harm others, you are also to be routinley watched and monitered as per necessary. ————————— That’s fine, but what other basis for morality is there besides a natrualistic one? You might point to some scriptures or the supposed authority of some ethereal being, yet In all of the aforementioned three reasons, you stick to mostly material (natrualistic) reasoning. 1) I’m not interested in scriptual debate, so I’ll leave this one for now. 2) ‘Natrual’, means ‘Occurs in nature’. Given that, homosexuality is indeed quite natrual; not just in humans, but in non-human animals as well. With regards to the propogation of genes, at least four species of desert lizard not only routinley engage in homosexual activity, but (seeing as how the species is entirley female) rely on it, as it is indeed the only method by which they can reproduce. If you believe that God created all beings on this planet to follow a specific plan, then you must concede that he created them to be this way. In humans, homosexuality persists at least partially because said homosexuals tend to be more likley to ensure the reproductive success of thier straight close relatives (i.e., the doting, gay uncle). This helps to get not only the genes of thier relatives passed on, but also those responsible for their affliction. 3) Homosexuals engage in the same sexual practices as heterosexuals, albiet in greater frequencies (at least in the male homosexual community). If heterosexuals had as much unprotected sex as homosexuals, they would be just as much a contributing factor to health hazards. Perhaps even more so, if for no other reason than there are more heterosexuals 36. Scott Thong Says: I admit that on a humanistic basis, there is a fundamental difference between consenting sex and non-consensual or manipulative sex. But if you will permit hypotheticals for the sake of discussion of social taboos: a) What if the necrophiliac’s living wife who has absolutely no family dies leaving a will explicitly stating her permission for her husband to get it on with her corpse? b) What if it is proven one day that animals can make informed, conscious and free-will decisions regarding their sexual partners? (After all, what difference is there between a male dog ‘willingly’ humping another male dog, and a male dog ‘no conscious capability’ humping a human?) c) In the case of incest between two genetically related adults who grew up completely isolated from one another and who cannot bear children, is it wrong? Use the example of two adult twin brothers who grew up in separate foster homes. All of the above I discussed in previous posts to ask the non-religious person’s justification for their rejection of such sexual practices as ‘wrong’. The commentor responses from self-declared atheists ran the gamut from “It’s still sick, no reason needed!” to “It’s fine with me”. ——————————— What basis apart from naturalistic? Well, if one begins from a naturalistic (i.e. nothing outside the observable universe) viewpoint, then by default that is all there is to it. 2) I contend that there is a different understanding of the word ‘natural’ – Conforming to the usual or ordinary course of nature. Put it this way, six-legged frogs and fatal cancer exist in the wild despite no interaction with humanity. Would anyone argue that these incidences are ‘the way it is naturally meant to be’ the same way they argue that homosexuality is a beautiful, natural phenomena? As for your remark on God making homosexuals that way, you have the common misassumption that the original plan is still perfect – i.e. you disregard The Fall and sin and its effects on life. I have blogged extensively on what God’s original and perfect plan was like according to the Bible, however as you have noted that you aren’t interested in scriptural debate, I shall leave it at that. 3) Again, a misassumption. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS in homosexual men is partly due to physiological factors – the mucous membranes of the anus are particularly soft and prone to tearing and bleeding, granting a very much increased chance of infection through that area. Therefore, even when controlling for frequency of sex and protection, male-male homosexual acts have a higher rate of infection than male-female. Granted that this should also lead to a lower infection/transmission rate among lesbians. And, as I mentioned, the lifestyle habits play a major role in reality. Swinging, partner-swapping, risk-taking, unprotected sex all contribute to male-male homosexuality having a much higher transmission rate than, say, the traditional no-sex-until-marriage monogamous heterosexual pairing. ——————————– Links to back up each of the points above are available on request. Glad for the discussion! 37. PersoninNY Says: It’s easy to describe why these things are wrong from a secular and material standpoint: a) Even if this occurs, it’s still more reasonable\productive for this dude to seek a living partner, than a dead one b) Most non-human animals can already make conscious and free-willed decisions, though. This still doesn’t mean that beastiality is permissable (even if the non-human animal doesn’t mind), for the same reason that pedophilia and most other sexual perversions involving living\non-living things are not permitted; there is a percieved negative impact on the well-being of others. Indeed, a person who pursues a sexual relationship with a minimally-contributing, non-fertile counterpart is potentially diverting valuable reproductive resources away from other human beings. Said resources needn’t be sexual\reproductive either–they could involve anything from romance, to basic positive interaction. Your question of ‘…what difference is there between a male dog ‘willingly’ humping another male dog, and a male dog with ‘no conscious capability’ humping a human?’ doesn’t make any sense to me; both examples provide a dog consciously doing something, of its own accord. c) Indeed it is if for no other reason than they could be improving the well-being of others in more productive ways. Indeed, there’s more to reproductive success than getting your own genes passed on; often times, it relies on getting those of other members of your group passed on as well. I read some of the comments, and noticed this. However, on similar topics, some of the commentors have explained exactly why such perversions are percieved as wrong. Either way, what are you attempting to get at? ——————————— 2) Such a definition is useless simply because ‘Usual or ordinary’ is arbritrarily ascribed; basically, it’s totally subjective. One would likley not be willing to argue that horrible things that occur in the wild are okay, typically becase of thier percieved negative effect on the well-being of others. I’m uninterested in this ‘the fall’ thing, and will say only this; if God is all-poweful, then he can change anything\everything around if he wants. If he refuses to do so, then he’s letting it happen. Either way, it’s no fault of anyone\anything else. 3) Nope. The mucous membranes and tissues of the rectal region are more perforated and generally open in everyone; a woman is just as likley to contract HIV\AIDS from anal sex with a man, as a man is, from another man. As previously stated, with regards to lifestyle, those who partake in the described promiscuity in regular\excessive intervals are all more at risk for STDs, not just gays. Indeed, one is much less likley to contract an STD if thier designated mate has also remained celibate, and stays monogomous. However, this is true also for gays; if two gay people have sex only with eachother and either one stays away from other sources of transmission, they are no more likley to get an STD than a heterosexual couple. —————————- I’ve been glad for the discussion as well… 38. Scott Thong Says: a) You used this for the zoophilia scenario below and in your previous comment, and I still don’t see that ‘there are better things to do’ as a strong argument. Wouldn’t it also be arguable that it would be more productive to seek a partner of the opposite gender than to go through the hassle of surrogate parenthood and child confusion? b) I repost what you said: Indeed, a person who pursues a sexual relationship with a minimally-contributing, non-fertile counterpart is potentially diverting valuable reproductive resources away from other human beings. Said resources needn’t be sexual\reproductive either–they could involve anything from romance, to basic positive interaction.. Couldn’t this apply equally well to a homosexual relationship? Could not a zoophiliac be emotionally fulfilled by his relationship with an animal, and thereby interact more positively with society as a result? Hence, my opinion that this line of argument is not the strongest. On the difference between willingly and no conscious capability, my apologies as it seems to be a red herring in this case – most other commentors I’ve debated with take the stance that animals cannot make any conscious decisions at all, therefore my point does not bear relevance to you. c) My purpose for posting is part curiousity, part provocation. 2) I contend that it is objective, in that ‘ordinary’ can be defined within strict parameters. e.g. ‘With coding DNA to within 0.005% variance from the average of the species’. Anything out of those bounds counts a mutation, i.e. out of the ordinary and hence, unnatural. After all, if Darwinistic evolution holds true, then purely homosexual preference is a guaranteed method of self-extinction of the genes coding for homosexuality – if sexuality really is 100% genetically determined, with no influence from enviromental stimuli (which is a ridiculous notion IMHO – if a young child’s first hundred positive sexual experiences involve rubber galoshes, and he grows up with a rubber boot fetish, how can environmental stimuli be discounted?). On God either allowing evil/imperfection or being powerless to change things, this is a very old topic and therefore has a wealth of responses, which I can go into if you are interested. 3) You have a point there – vaginal vs anal sex does count as a behavioural choice. That said, anal sex is not known to be sexual preference for the majority of heterosexual couples. 39. Robert Says: Love the way the right paints hypothetical scenarios to suite their cognitive dissonance. We can go on forever, but it’s such a bore. 40. Scott Thong Says: Ah, Robert… Again with the boredom. Such a wonderfully dull and dreary discussion that manages to draw you away from the far more interesting real world back to the comments yet again? 41. PersoninNY Says: a) I’m sorry that you don’t see it as a strong argument, but short of restating my given reasons, there’s not much I can tell you. With regards to finding a same-sex partner, if the individual in question is gay, then such an option is not viable. Think about it: the gay person finds a mate of the opposite sex, and procreates accordingly. They’re still not straight, and will have to (presumably) spend the rest of thier life with someone they’re not sexually\romantically attracted to. Wouldn’t this place undue stress on both parties? With regards to any children, not only would said stress negativley affect them, but they would also be carrying the genes for homosexuality, and passing it on further. Not a good strategy at all! b) Indeed, a person who pursues a sexual relationship with a minimally-contributing, non-fertile counterpart is potentially diverting valuable reproductive resources away from other human beings. This is the primary rationale for why sexual perversions are so thoroughly looked down upon, so yes, it can and does apply to homosexuality. With regards to non-human sexual attractions (living or not), I maintain that directly or indirectly subverting potential reproductive resources away from a fertile population is detrimental to the group, and should be avoided–regardless of its effect on the individual. c) Gotcha. I like to argue too… 2) The problem with you’re definition now is that you’re confusing the definition of two different words\implications; ‘natrual’ just means ‘occuring in nature’–that’s it. Wether they are ordinary or not is irrelevent, since all that matters is that they occur. If you want to argue that homosexuality (or other sexual perversions) are not ordinary, you’ll find no objections from me there; however, since it occurs relativley frequently in the animal kingdom, it is indeed natrual (Just a thought; using your same criteria, I could claim that all life (on this planet, anyway) is un-natrual, for it counts for less than a trillionth of a percent of the Earth’s total mass!). I have already explained why homosexuality gets passed on; if the afflicted homosexuals are successful in helping thier close kin to reproduce, the responsible genes get passed on. With regards to how homosexuality even arose, possible catalysts could be anything from fitness indication, to overpopulation–don’t quote me on that though, I’m not sure. I’m not terribly interested in theology right now, so I’ll save it for later… 3) Anal sex may not be a preference for most heterosexual couples, but it does occur. Even so, vaginal sex still allows for the transmission of STDs; vaginal tissue may not be as perforated, but the surrounding areas are quite vulnerable to micro-tears, and other forms of absorption. Additionally, the tendency of vaginal sex to be…’heavier’ and more frequent than other sexual practices also plays a role in transmission, as well. 42. Scott Thong Says: c) Hence, we have made one another’s day. Jolly good! 2) I believe I stated what definition I was discussing on at the start. To make things clearer, I shall search for a more exclusive word or phrase which better delivers my intended meaning henceforth. 3) Theory aside, the fact remains that HIV infection and transmission remains highest in homosexual males (being the cause of transmission in 72% of 27,455 individuals surveyed). So I have asked/snarked before, if smoking is a proven health hazard to oneself and to others and thus should be banned, what about homosexuality? Or casual sex? 43. PersoninNY Says: c) Indeed we have. Jolly good, indeed! 2) Fair enough. Would I be wrong to say that you’re trying to convey the meaning\message ‘Common in most of the population, or if uncommon, not detrimental to the groups’ reproductive fitness’? 3) HIV\AIDS is higher in gay males, because gay males have more unprotected sex. Barring that, drug use is also a major contributor of HIV\AIDS, as well. Also, I’m not terribly keen on surveys that rely on quantifying sexual partners, what with human error, and all. Disease is spread through means other than sex, but no-one would suggest banning sick people from going anywhere, or doing anything. That being said, the barring of homosexual sex is unecessary, since not all homosexuals have HIV\AIDS\STDs; The same goes for casual sex. Nevertheless, I don’t think that either are particularly good, or should be encouraged\practiced… 44. Robert Says: No, just another amusing distraction with your curious fascination with homosexuality and bestiality. Going to extremes to pick fly crap out of pepper to satisfy your pseudo-intellectual facade. Fire away! 45. Simon Thong Says: The fly is back; I thought he had fallen in the soup and drowned. If he keeps buzzing around, he may yet realize that it is not crap he thinks he is drawn to but the real thing. But then, habit re-asserts itself, and flies turn what they feed on to mush. 46. Robert Says: Just slumming it. 47. Nasaei Ahmad Says: Though our friend Robert and Ron are atheists, I like them both. Their arguments I mean. So, they should be always welcomed. Scott is a professional blogger (and a scientist); he wouldn’t impose ‘VOA’ (visa on arrival) or anything unwelcomed. WE have failed to convince them there is a Creator God. 48. Simon Thong Says: Don’t be silly, Nasaei. You may have failed. They have also failed. 49. Scott Thong Says: 2) Close enough! 50. Robert Says: You’re an alright guy, Nasaei. Don’t worry about Simon. He’s just being his usual silly self. Take comfort in knowing that any claims, pro or con, for the proof of a god cannot be fulfilled. Theist’s cannot prove there is a god and scientists can’t prove that there isn’t. It is simply a matter of faith for one and fact for the other. 51. Scott Thong Says: Don’t fret too much, Nasaei, as Ron has already stated that it would take a worldwide mass healing to convince him. His standard of proof is much higher than ours. 52. Simon Thong Says: As for Robert, Nasei’s an alright guy FOR THE MOMENT coz Nasaei just admitted his failure, thus admitting also (Robert would like to believe) that Robert and Ron are superior. I’m always myself, and silly is never part of my make-up. Robert may write silly things but he’s not silly. Arrogant, self-important, pretentious he may be, to use a few adjectives..but not silly. At times, he’s so ugly american (pompous and sel-idolizing) but we’ll soon straighten him out. 53. Simon Thong Says: ..pompous and self-idolizing… 54. Nasaei Ahmad Says: Maybe, if an atheist is a footballer, he can be a talented player like Christian Ronaldo or Kaka, who is a devouted man. I imagine..Robert and Ron score hattricks..or so.. 55. Robert Says: Simon is so utterly predictable in his retorts. Unfortunately for him all of the energy and thought he applies in assuming my character is wasted. Can’t speak for Ron but I know that no one is superior to anyone and we, as individuals, are all unique. It is the reason we share ideas. And the worst and silliest question is the one that is never asked. 56. Simon Thong Says: You may really believe that no one is superior to anyone else; in that, you have deceived yourself. Much earlier, you were supercilious and superior in your comments; yet you can’t see that. You make sweeping generalizations about believers in God, loudly castigating them as irrational and superstitious. In a recent comment, you wrote about me, ‘his usual silly self’. Isn’t that a fine example of looking down at others? Indeed, almost everything you write exposes you as an arrogant *****. But I’ll leave this alone for the time being; can’t teach old **** new tricks or atheists humility. 57. Robert Says: Wrong again, Simon. I consider myself an Equal Opportunity Offender. And, if you really knew me, you would know that I am usually the first to laugh at my own shortcomings or foolishness. My questions are human to human and when confronted with arrogance and conceit I will respond in like kind to allow the offender a taste of their own poison. So take a look at yourself, you silly, arrogant, human, and take a moment to laugh at yourself. You may live longer. 58. Simon Thong Says: The fact that you are the first to laugh at your own shortcomings and foolishness is neither here nor there. A man may claim anything over the Net. Also, “a man may smile and smile and be a villain.” (Hamlet, W. Shakespeare) By the way, you protest too much. What comes across is a hypocritical, pompous, less-than human being (human being minus spiritual nature). 59. Ron Says: “Don’t fret too much, Nasaei, as Ron has already stated that it would take a worldwide mass healing to convince him. His standard of proof is much higher than ours.” I think my request is quite reasonable. In Job 38-40 we can read God proudly rattling off his CV of amazing accomplishments: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?…” To which Job meekly replied: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” So performing a feat which convinces skeptics of his existence should be a cakewalk. Now let let me ask you this: What compelling evidence would sway theists away from their belief in a supernatural deity 60. Robert Says: “Speak for yourself..” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. You strive so hard to place yourself above the common fray only to find that you are no different than the least of beggars or the greatest kings. And the impression you leave is that of an unhappy, self loathing fool. 61. Simon Thong Says: Everyone matters to God, which is what scripture says. Everyone is unique, which is what some people think, but which is a myth perpetuated by some self-centered and arrogant people. God has spoken. God has acted, most progoundly in the death of his Son. If atheists remain hard-dearted and soft-headed, would they get something ‘extra’? Have to wait and see. Robert, read what you wrote: this is a case of learning from your own quote. 62. Simon Thong Says: God has acted, most profoundly in the death of his Son. If atheists, agnostics, skeptics and others in that mixed bag of self-important, self-aggrandiziers remain hard-hearted and soft-headed, would they get something ‘extra’? 63. Ron Says: Everyone matters to God? Not sure what scriptures you’re reading, because the Bible I’m familiar with presents a deity who loathes mankind and takes extraordinary measures to annihilate/torment his creation. Even his so-called favorites get treated harshly. Look at what he put Job through to win a wager with Satan. 64. Simon Thong Says: You’re exactly what I’m referring to: someone hard-hearted and soft-headed; a speck of dust with a voice and a soul (which it denies) challenging the God who created it; ungrateful to the God whose son died for it; unwilling to accept, and therefore be traansformed from an it to a new creation, a new person… 65. Nasaei Ahmad Says: “…ungrateful to the God whose son died for it; ” – Simon Thong Can God be born and then..on a later time….died ? We say God was and is always there, no beginning, eternal, immortal etc ..isn’t ? All Abrahamic faiths basically believe that. Pls. anyone explain. TQ 66. Nasaei Ahmad Says: Or.. 1) “His body died but not sould, spirit” 2) “It appeared so. He (God) never died” 3) “Actin film only” 4) Bla, bla bla.. Aftar all, does Bible tells us such things anyway. (Or we have our very own, personal or very private reasoning/ explanations?)..Might be. I’m not sure of this. Thanks for explanation (if any). 67. Simon Thong Says: Nasaei, are you being deliberately obtuse or, as Zack T has suggested, just too rooted in and limited by your muslim background that your mind can’t grasp concepts of Christianity? Well, read other topics in Scott’s blog..read again, and again, with an open mind. 68. Simon Thong Says: Job, in the face of such terrible loss and suffering, says, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. (Job 1.21) At the end of it all, he says, I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear. But now my eye sees You. Therefore, I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42.5-6) 69. Robert Says: Crazy people have been known to say some pretty strange things, Simon. 70. Simon Thong Says: See what I mean? You call him crazy, which makes you superior. 71. Ron Says: Simon neglects to mention that Job’s terrible loss and suffering was brought about on a whim, by the same God that Christians regard as the epitome of justice and righteousness. 72. Robert Says: I really don’t know what to say, Simon. I guess I should be flattered that you perceive me to be ‘superior’ when, in fact, I know that I’m not. I may possess skills that could be construed as ‘superior’ to others, just as many have skills and talent ‘superior’ to mine. For example, I have been playing the guitar since 1973 and to many who do not play, may consider my ability superior to them; but I am in no way even close to the level of the thousands of virtuosos in the world whose ability I regard as far superior to mine. Yet, as humans, they are no more superior than anyone else. There are varying degree’s of mental illness as well. A friend of mine has an unusually higher fear of bee’s than most people I know, and there is a large variety of phobia’s that afflict people as a very mild form of mental illness. The are a fear, just as one may fear their god to the extent of hallucination. Humans didn’t know anything about mental illness back in the old Job days and many were believed to be ‘touched’ by god and many claimed, as they do today, to the same. 73. Simon Thong Says: I don’t consider you superior at all, Robert. Whatever gave you the idea? Either you don’t read carefully or your comprehension is lacking. I was merely pointing out that YOU THINK that you’re superior. What you’ve just written about mental illness is unimpressive; indeed, it is downright shallow, to call a spade a spade.. Ron, know the meaning of whim? Whatever it was, it was not a whim. You lack understanding of Job 1. Your adolescent doubts about God have continued into adulthood, unfortunately. Not only have they colored your perspective, but they have also stunted your spiritual understanding. 74. Ron Says: Whim: a sudden desire or impulse Job 1:6-12 (paraphrased) Satan goes to visit God. God: Satan you old devil, where have you been? Satan: Roaming the earth. God: Have you met Job? He’s my number one fan and devotee. (Notice who brings up Job?) Satan: And this surprises you? You’ve granted him a cushy life filled with wealth and success. Take it away from him and he’ll sing a different tune. God: You’re on. Go and mess with his shït, but don’t harm him personally. (Notice who willingly agrees to give Job a rough time?) Satan sets off to plunder Job’s wealth and kill his family. Job remains faithful. Job 2:1-5 Satan visits God. God: Satan you old devil, where you been? Satan: Roaming the earth. God: Have you met Job? He’s still my number one fan and devotee even though I allowed you to mess up his shït for no good reason. (Notice who brings up Job? Notice who admits he allowed Job’s suffering for no good reason?) Satan: What can I say? A man will give up everything to save his own âss. Let me ruin his health and he won’t be praising you anymore. God: You’re on. Go ahead and mess with his health, just don’t kill him. (Notice who willingly agrees to raise the stakes?) Satan sets off to ruin Job’s health. 75. Simon Thong Says: Why the paraphrasing? Why not the text? Is that what you have been doing, paraphrasing passages to suit your own whim? Ah, that’s you, the whim expert. Job is a theological treatise. 76. Ron Says: What does it matter whether the test is presented in KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, or colloquial English. The narrative remains the same. 77. Simon Thong Says: Nope, paraphrasing is far from accurate, and in your case, it is twisted. Why is it important to you that Job suffered so terribly but did not doubt God? Can’t understand his response, so ignorant people like you have to resort to labelling him crazy? None are crazier than those who can’t see the presence of God. Given your relatively comfortable and secure life, you reject God, while Job confesses his faith. Jealous that you can’t find the faith, so you must run down those who believe? 78. Ron Says: Where did I write Job was crazy? Or downplay Job’s faith? Please pay attention. My entire focus has been on the capricious god presented in the Book of Job. The one who claims Job is blameless and then proceeds to put him through the ringer. The god that Christians claim is the author of absolute morality, yet often displays the most vile behavior known to man. 79. Simon Thong Says: Did I tar you with the same brush as your pal-in-miserable anti-faith, Robert? Does it matter? You’re in the same tub anyway, wallowing in a pool of atheism-agnosticism mixture. My answer is simply the answer in Job. Who are you to question or criticize the Creator? What are you? You’re just a speck of dust that would not have existed if God had not created dust. Now, you exist as a person only because God gave you, a speck of dust, life. Who are you, merely a creature, to call the Creator capricious? How impudent…. 80. Ron Says: You keep forgetting that I don’t subscribe to your belief in gods so my question isn’t directed to them; it’s directed towards those who deign their holy texts offer a superior moral code to the one we currently have. 81. Simon Thong Says: “offer a superior moral code to the one we currently have” – Ron. What moral code? Do you even have one that is distinct from the Judaeo-Christian one? I don’t believe in gods. I believe in God. Are you so dense? 82. Robert Says: Here’s an interesting read. http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/mccabe02.htm 83. Simon Thong Says: Maybe an interesting read to you but definitely boring and outdated; Utilitarian morality? Been there, seen it, rejected it. The writer makes too much of the death of religion. 84. Ron Says: What moral code? Do you even have one that is distinct from the Judaeo-Christian one? Well, for a start, I don’t stone people to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath or worshiping false gods. Nor do I condone slavery or the subjugation of women. “I don’t believe in gods. I believe in God. Are you so dense?” My bad. I should have wrote supernatural entities. https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/12/04/physicists-believe-in-god-or-at-least-a-creator-or-designer-a-collection-of-quotes/#comment-40517 85. Simon Thong Says: Still harping on the OT, the Jewish Bible? Never got to the NT yet? 86. Stupid Simon Says: What a load of bull! 87. Ron Says: “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will )receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few.” (Luke 12:47-48) “Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ” (Ephesians 6:5) “All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.”(1 Timothy 6:1-2) “I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” (1 Tim. 2:9-14) “Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. (1 Corinthians 14:34) Meet the new boss same as the old boss. 88. Robert Says: Cognitive dissonance prevails once again. If ignorance is bliss, Simon, you must be the happiest person alive. 89. Simon Thong Says: LOL. Can’t afford a mirror, can always look at the barber’s mirror…. 90. Robert Says: How many do you break? 91. Simon Thong Says: Many, but I’m a child of God, and there is forgiveness. 92. Robert Says: Which god? Isis? Yahweh? Thor? Zeus? Mithra? Or the christian one with 3 heads? 93. Ron Says: YHWH reminds me of Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now: “I love the smell of fire and brimstone in the morning… The smell, you know that burning sulfur smell… smells like… victory” 94. Simon Thong Says: Poor Robert, poor Ron, so fixated on rubbishing others….got nothing better to do, not much of a life or direction, hanging around, trying to destroy, to tear down… 95. Ron Says: Hey, don’t shoot the messenger. It’s not my fault that the god you worship is portrayed as a complete knob in that book you consult for absolute moral guidance. 96. Simon Thong Says: you’re no messenger..just a worm that tries to eat the Book, missing the Message for the paper it is printed on.. 97. Ron Says: Oh, the message is crystal clear: murder, rape, pillage, plunder, slavery, child abuse, and ritualistic sacrifice. Fun times. 98. Simon Thong Says: you’re a broken record, replaying the same nonotonous, tuneless whine.. 99. Ron Says: That broken record you hear happens to be “God’s Greatest Hits.” Seems denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. 100. Robert Says: ‘Manifest Destiny’ happens to be one of my favorites. The shining example of this “Christian Nation”. 101. Ron Says: Well, George did say he had divine guidance. 102. Simon Thong Says: I would say, Get a life, fellows, but how would worms do that? 103. Ron Says: As one of the earth’s oldest inhabitants, worms serve an amazingly useful purpose: the ability to quickly transform smelly waste matter into rich organic nutrients. So I’ll take that as a compliment. 104. Scott Thong Says: What compelling evidence would sway theists away from their belief in a supernatural deity – Ron That’s a good question. Some might say if it were conclusively proven that the sources of the Bible are forgeries. For myself, I suppose that it is more difficult than it is to convince you God exists – disproving a negative and all that. Having experienced it, what would convince you that gravity is not real? I suppose an alternate theory that explains why graviy is only an illusion – but that would merely be a replacement. So having had an experience that convinced me that God is real, I suppose, I guess the only way I would be convinced that YHWH is not real is if the real supreme deity appeared… But that would merely un-convince me of YHWH, not supernatural deity in general. 105. Nasaei Ahmad Says: What compelling evidences for Ron and Robert to prove God doesn’t exist? You never seen God.. is that the proof? A false “proof”… because you cannot prove if God sees you..or not. You and me, and the universe were NOT made by science after all. You just can’t tell where we were are from, but you believe in something you cannot, and never proved whatsoever. A false believe. You already made the conclusion even though you are not sure of anything you believe. Right? 106. Ron Says: “Some might say if it were conclusively proven that the sources of the Bible are forgeries.” I’m not so sure. Many Christians I’ve known over the years have stated flat out that nothing would shake their overriding belief in God, despite admitting they disagreed with — or even rejected — major tenets of their faith. Go figure. And the reconversion stories I’ve read seldom cite biblical errancy as the catalyst for someone’s loss of faith. Speaking personally, I know it wasn’t a factor for me. “Having experienced it, what would convince you that gravity is not real? I suppose an alternate theory that explains why graviy is only an illusion – but that would merely be a replacement.” The physical effects of gravity can be demonstrated repeatedly with predictable results, so there’s no faith (i.e., belief in the absence of evidence) required. How do you demonstrate the existence of a supernatural force which by its very definition (according to believers) exists outside the physical universe? “So having had an experience that convinced me that God is real, I suppose, I guess the only way I would be convinced that YHWH is not real is if the real supreme deity appeared… But that would merely un-convince me of YHWH, not supernatural deity in general.” I don’t doubt that you experienced something, but how do you discern a supernatural occurrence from a psychological high or neurochemical influence. 107. Ron Says: Nasaei, I didn’t ask you to prove that God exists. I asked what would it take to convince you that God does not exist. It’s the reverse of asking me what would it take to convince me that God exists, which I answered. 108. Nasaei Ahmad Says: Thank Ron. Forget about who asks whom. You should tell us why (the reasons) you think God doesn’t exist. For example, you never seen or met God). So that we can learn from you and share you thoughts. The better is to list down some of your reasons. Last time I did asked the same. Better also by the way..you tell us why you exists without being asked to exist. We..and our ancestors didn’t ask or request to be present here as well. Then..what ? why? Because of “evolution” maybe? 109. Scott Thong Says: I don’t doubt that you experienced something, but how do you discern a supernatural occurrence from a psychological high or neurochemical influence. – Ron In my younger days when I was away from home, my family had been complaining of nightly disturbances around midnight – bad dreams, ‘seeing’ an odd darkness shifting about in an already dark room, eerie feelings. It began ever since the neighbors recently moved out and took their Chinese altar with them. Call it superstition or self-inflicted psychosomatic symptoms if you want, but we retained the possibility that it was the spirit that formerly claimed the altar as ‘its’ altar suddenly being jilted, and coming next door to us to take out its bad mood. So one night when I happened to be home, I was on the PC and it came close to midnight. Seeing the time, on a whim I went upstairs – y’know, to see if there really was anything going on. And as soon as I stepped through the threshold of the door, I felt a huge wave of pressure wash over me from my front to my back – it felt like I stepped into a very high pressure atmosphere, and my eyes completely blacked out as if I had suddenly had a minute’s worth of hyperventilation in one second. It took several seconds for my eyes to regain vision, and the whole time all my hair was standing on end. (How much psychosomatic ‘belief’ must I have subconciously had to manifest the feeling of pressure and blacking out? Especially when I didn’t even lean towards coming across anything in particular?) I prayed and did battle in my mind (call it imagination if you wish), and a few minutes later the oppressive feeling subsided. From that night on, the nightly midnight disturbances did not reoccur. No one even knew I had been in the bedroom area that night, nor knew of my encounter with the spiritual force. More psychosomatic coincidence? But actually, I tend to disregard ‘spiritual feeling’ as being very subjective – as you say, such feelings could be due to internal or non-supernatural external factors. And who witnessed or experienced my encounter except me? So my own most convincing experience is that of the circumstances surrounding a (perceived) answered prayer – where the probability seems so unlikely, that the explanation ‘God put it together’ actually seems more probable (assuming, of course, that the supernatural is not ruled out from the get-go). For this, everything is objectively laid out – no subjective things like feelings or sensations. The probability of each individual event can be roughly calculated, and the combined probability worked out from there. See for yourself: Regarding a relationship and not knowing how to seek God’s will exactly, I ask a church leader how to know God’s will. She asks back, what would I and she both take a clearly a sign from God? I reply that if I can be in Town Z where she will be posted soon. ‘Coincidence’ 1: That very afternoon, I get a all for a job interview. I applied for a slew of jobs months ago, and this is the first call I get. ‘Coincidence’ 2: No other potential employer calls to offer a job – and I had specifically prayed that God ‘close every door but the one He wants me to enter’, meaning only ONE job that will take me in. ‘Coincidence’ 3: The job further prefers three very specific traits in the employee – science education, good in English (remember, this is the Third World), work experience in a magazine (how many science grads go to work for the entertainment media?). ‘Coincidence’ 4: None of the jobs I applied for were supposed to be in Town Z. Yet the last thing the employer’s rep says is that the job offered is to be based in Town Z. Sign from God to me! Sure, it’s possible it’s all an amazing coincidence, with marvelously unlikely timing and job specifics. But how probable is it? The disbeliever would rather take the one in ten billion chance than admit the possibility that events can be manipulated by an invisible, omnipotent hand. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle put it through Sherlock Holmes, When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. However, if one rules out the supernatural before even beginning the process of elimination, of course the conclusion will exclude the supernatural. So yes, according to those who don’t believe in the supernatural, no such thing as ‘spiritual disturbance’ exists. I’m the first to admit that blaming everything from epilepsy to psychosis on ‘demon possession’ goes a bit far. But as someone who believes that some form of supernatural does exist, I instead look at it as those who do not believe unnessecarily constraining their understanding and reactions. Put it this way (just as a mental exercise): If spirits really do exist, and some really can have a detrimental effect on human psyches, isn’t it a handicap if we go into the matter beginning with the assumption that no such thing exists? If it were radiation or viruses, surely you would say it is foolishness to deny their effect on human health simply because you do not believe in them. But I suppose what it would take to convince you of the spiritual would be a scientific method of detecting spiritual energy, and nothing as ‘subjective’ as continuous circumstantial evidence or ruling out other factors*, correct? * For an example from Dilbert, I get rashes everytime I eat strawberries. But without a controlled scientific experiment conducted three times that rules out all other factors such as air and light, I cannot prove that strawberries are what cause my allergy. 110. Ron Says: Scott, hyperventilation and goosebumps (hair standing end) are the result of fear. And it comes as no surprise you’d be scared. Children are more receptive to the suggestion of supernatural influence. Plus your family members had already pre-conditioned you towards that conclusion. So you nervously enter a sweltering room with stale air. And your hair usually stands on end when you’re frightened. You don’t say exactly how old you were at the time, but at a young age, it comes as no surprise you’d be scared. Children are more receptive to the suggestion of supernatural influence and the thoughts of your family members had already pre-conditioned you towards that conclusion. 111. Ron Says: Sorry the above post got messed up. Ignore the repetition. As for probability, try the following mental exercise. – Take 1,000 coins. – Mark each one with a unique number from 1 to 1,000. – Toss them into the air. – Record the result (heads or tails) of each coin on a piece of paper. The probability of getting that result is 1 x 2^1000 (i.e., a really big number). Yet you beat the odds of getting that outcome on the very first toss. 112. Ron Says: “Thank Ron. Forget about who asks whom. You should tell us why (the reasons) you think God doesn’t exist. For example, you never seen or met God). So that we can learn from you and share you thoughts. The better is to list down some of your reasons.” So in other words, you want me to continue entertaining your questions while completely ignoring mine? That doesn’t seem like an equitable exchange to me. 113. Simon Thong Says: Did Ron ever fall in love? No, he can’t have. Feelings of love? What? Feelings of love? No such thing for Ron. 114. Scott Thong Says: So in other words, you want me to continue entertaining your questions while completely ignoring mine? That doesn’t seem like an equitable exchange to me. – Ron Welcome to the wonderful world once limited to throwing a list of polemical attacks against religion, having the believer painstakingly respond to each one, and then moving on to a new list of attacks! 115. Scott Thong Says: You don’t say exactly how old you were at the time, but at a young age, it comes as no surprise you’d be scared. – Ron Uh, I believe I was at the tender age of 23 or so at the time. The air was cool in the room, and the pressure wave did not feel a different temperature. 116. Simon Thong Says: How would Ron provide you with an answer, Nasaei? He can’t even tell me about his supposedly superior moral code. All he can do is cut and paste, or give a reference to some post or youtube upload. 99.9999% of what he says is anti-something. That is. of course, easy to do. He is negative, destructive, a tearer-down-er. Got no coherent theory. 117. Nasaei Ahmad Says: Simon, when atheists travel in an airplane… in case the pilot abruptly announces to be calmed and fasten seat belt because one of the engines had serious mechanical troubles…what do you think atheists would say then ? “O my God” ! That is the first word uttered amongst the passengers including the atheists..(most likely) It is natural for any human being to believe in God. But their arrogance is their ‘stumbling block’ to themselves I think. 118. Simon Thong Says: ARROGANCE. An apt word for them. 119. Scott Thong Says: I think that’s more of an example of disbelief in God leading to lack of respect… As they only every mention God or Jesus as a curse, when scared or in pain, and when having sex. 120. Ron Says: “…and when having sex.” Humanists in Love–Deist On Top [Redacted by blog owner due to explicit NSFW content, feel free to search for the title yourself if you wish. That said, probably spot on reply to earlier comment.] 121. Ron Says: Arrogance is an apt description for those who contend the barbaric and inhumane moral code stitched together by desert nomads in a middle-eastern backwater over 2000 years ago has any useful application in modern times. This is the moral code that sanctions genocide, slavery, misogyny, rape, plunder, stoning people to death for trivial infractions, and religious thought crimes. A code that has justified crusades, witch-hunts, wars, ethnic cleansing, oppression and many other human atrocities. The same code that convinces men to kill gays, bomb abortion clinics, fly planes into buildings, detonate explosives in crowded plaza and behead women who’ve “shamed” their family values. Tearing down such a corrupt moral code isn’t negative or destructive, it’s a moral duty. 122. Simon Thong Says: Arrogance. It simply defines you, Ron. 123. Robert Says: And they start it all with the delicate minds of their children. What a waste. Arrogance, Simon? Who does it define? 124. Scott Thong Says: A code that has justified crusades, witch-hunts, wars, ethnic cleansing, oppression and many other human atrocities. The same code that convinces men to kill gays, bomb abortion clinics, fly planes into buildings, detonate explosives in crowded plaza and behead women who’ve “shamed” their family values. Tearing down such a corrupt moral code isn’t negative or destructive, it’s a moral duty. – Ron First, as usual and as is convenient to the polemicist, completely separate religions are conflated here. When in the last 100 years have Jews or Christians regularly beheaded, stoned or suicide bombed anyone? Second, although the code has been used to justify the abovementioned, that does not mean that the code itself justifies it. If you want a political comparison, does the Second Amendment enshrine every American’s right to bear arms, or is that merely the interpretation of certain individuals or groups (e.g. the NRA)? Third, the moral code of one of the religions conflated above also convinces people to give to charity, serve humanitarian causes, and – whaddya know – end the slave trade by brute naval force. Do only religious folk do these good things mentioned above? No, many irreligious folk also do them. Many irreligious folk also commit crimes and atrocities. But is religion the main motivating factor in carrying out the good things mentioned above? For religious folk, it most assuredly is. Just as it most assuredly is the motivation for those who commit atrocities ‘in the name of god’. And what if the moral code is removed completely, leaving a void that is either not filled or filled with a different doctrine? Jews and Christians haven’t exactly carried out many crusades, witch hunts, genocidal campaigns, slavery, plunder, arbitrary executions for trivial infractions, punishment for thought crimes, ethnic cleansing, or all-encompassing oppression in the name of their beliefs in the past century. I’ve said it before: Critics of JudeoChristianity can harp on all the evils they think the Bible condones, but how many Jews and Christians actually carry out atrocities in the name of God in everyday practise? Ah, but the self-avowed atheistic Communist regimes have. What a funny coincidence, that so many dogmatic, dictatorial regimes in the 20th-century chose to practically outlaw traditional supernaturalist religion in the course of furthering their society-changing agendas. It’s almost as if old-fashioned and outdated 2000-year old moral codes might obstruct the State’s slavery, murder and total control. Look two paragraphs above. Each crime against humanity I listed applies perfectly to Soviet Russia, Mao’s China and the Khmer Rouge. Each was staunchly and aggressively atheistic – surely their actions that ended 100 million lives were not inspired by 2000-year old devotion to some invisible man in the sky? In fact, my own opinion is that it was precisely the discarding of such BARBARIC dogma as ‘thou shall not murder’ and ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ that permitted atrocities to be carried out on such a grand scale. This is the result of removing completely the moral code you believe to be the cause of all the world’s wrongs. Even if I were to be completely mercenary about it, the clear result is that lack of a stupid and inherently bigoted supernaturalistic religious moral code causes greater harm than the presence of it. To paraphrase you, arrogance is an apt description for those who haughtily believe that religion is more negative than positive, particularly in the light of ‘real solid proof’ that atheists are supposedly so keen on. So to summarize: Imagine, if you would, a world where belief in a god who dictates a moral code has disappeared once and for all. Would it be better than the present world as you think it must be? A world run by logic, reason, mutual respect and humanity above all? Sure, if people were perfect. But history suggests otherwise. I believe that people are naturally b*stards to varying degrees. Some ‘irrational’ fear of divine judgment and moralistic indoctrination does their disposition wonders. If people were wholly logical they would do what is best for society and religion would have no purpose, but the reality is that people are not. From a wholly results-oriented, non-philosophical point of view, religion does more good than harm. To deny the very humanness of humanity is a fallacy, a myth, even a religion – one more naive, imaginative and backward than any theistic belief. 125. PersoninNY Says: Indeed, most Jews, Christians, and general religious folk are not evil, but so what? The issue is not that some are evil, but rather that the doctrines that influence followers are supposed to be PERFECT, and instill the same tendencies in the adherents. It’s one thing to be flawed, but it’s another thing to be flawed when claiming to follow an allegedly perferct system… 126. Scott Thong Says: It’s one thing to be flawed, but it’s another thing to be flawed when claiming to follow an allegedly perferct system… – PersoninNY Two responses I can give. 1) As I commented, would it be better that they didn’t have an allegedly perfect set of doctrines to follow? Go ask Stalin, I’ll wait. 2) The belief that humans are fallible creatures who will never live up to the standards of an infallible God is central to Christianity. Hence the necessity for a perfect saviour. 127. PersoninNY Says: Two responses to said responses: 1) A perfect set of rules would indeed be wonderful, but for entities as fluid and unstable as people (and the situations which affect us), the rules given aren’t perfect; that’s what matters. It is one thing have ‘absolute’ rules in a non-absolute world, but it’s worse to continuously insist upon them when they’re obviously not working. 2) The idea of a perfect savior is certaintly romantic, but that’s not what I’m getting at. The doctrine is supposed to be perfect, and the followers are supposed to adhere to this perfect doctrine. When they don’t (as is often the case) and other people are hurt in the process, it’s time to move on… 128. Scott Thong Says: How are they not working? What alternative would you suggest? Less than perfect rules? ‘Thou shall not murder except when really, really angry’? Or to use modern law examples, say an anti-stealing law that allows theft of up to 50 with no penalty? Or an anti-murder law that has the caveat ‘proven guilty defendant is to be released without charges upon roll of 20 on a dodecahedron’ added on just to make it imperfect? Your reasoning fails to convince me of the validity of your point. It’s like saying, if we can’t build 100% efficient engines and zero resistance wires, engineers should intentionally aim to make less effective technologies instead of striving harder. If we can’t keep our drinking water 100% free of harmful chemicals or bacteria, it’s time to move on – shut down those water treatment plants! If we can’t save every patient in the ER, forget about hospitals! If we can’t keep out 100% of all illegal immigrants, we shouldn’t even bother trying. (Waitaminnit… Are you a Nancy Pelosi by any chance?) 129. PersoninNY Says: How aren’t they working? They’re disobeyed constantly by the very people who claim to adhere to them, that’s how. If these rules really are directly from a perfect god, and those who claim to follow these rules are claiming to do so in the name of a perfect god, then they should be perfect for just that reason; they are basically claiming to follow perfection. Ergo, there is absolutley no room for failure, plain and simple. I would suggest keep the rules, but accomodate them for imperfect humans. For example ‘Question your priest, when he says that God wants him to fiddle you’. Don’t bother using modern laws as an example either, because those never claimed to be enforced by a perfect system, or come from a perfect source. Yes, those fail on occasion, but laws are already at the mercy of human error–the same can’t be said of your ideals. No, Scott, it’s not like stating that if we can’t do something 100% we shouldn’t even bother trying either, because none of the things you listed have claimed to be perfect and infalliable, or have claimed to come from a perfect and infalliable source. Like I previously said, it’s one thing to be flawed, but it’s another to be so after claiming to adhere to perfection. If people use what is a ‘perfect’ doctrine to constantly hurt others, it’s time to move on. Keep the ideal, but make it more accessable[sp], and update it as per needed. Allow me to explain with a lengthy metaphor: Suppose I said that a neighborhood was so safe, you could leave your door wide open at all times, and not even a misquito would go in. Now imagine that I say that if you move anywhere else, you’ll be attacked and suffer, sctritly because you didn’t trust me. Now, suppose that upon moving to this neighborhood after signifigant ‘persuasian’, you are assured that nothing will happen, and that it’s a perfect utopia. Now, imagine that shortly after you arrive, your things are stolen, your property is damaged, and you are injured. However, when you try to complain, I merley tell you that the neighborhood is perfect, but I can’t speak for the people in it. Understandably, when you try to take retribution, I merley state that I’m taking my claims from a higher–conveniantly untouchable–power, and that there’s nothing you can do. If you understood that, congratulations! You are well on your way to understanding why irreligious folk aren’t buying the whole ‘divine guidance’ thing… (Oh, haha. My sides are splitting) 130. Simon Thong Says: PersoninNY, congrats for putting up such a wonderfully naive straw man to knock down. I’m the one laughing so hard at your elementary mistake that my sides threaten to split. Christianity’s very basis is that man is imperfect, that rules are imperfect, but Christ came to save. Believers sin and seek forgiveness. That is the claim of Christians. Why do you insist that we claim what we don’t claim? 131. Simon Thong Says: I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. Or, put crudely, you’re p*ssing on the wrong tree. 132. Scott Thong Says: I get what you’re trying to say… That religiously-inspired laws are unrealistic because they assume that imperfect people could ever follow the laws perfectly, and if any law is broken, they are punished despite their never having been able to avoid eventually breaking some of the laws. However, I still disagree with your thesis. 1) Your reasoning that laws are imperfect because people don’t follow them perfectly is very, very skewed. Take a piano piece by Mozart. The notes are all there in perfect melody, then some amateur comes and butchers the song (and the piano). By your logic, this means that Mozart composed a flawed, imperfect song! If you instead said that the laws themselves suggest foolish things, I would find more meat on your argument. 2) ‘Aim for the stars, if you miss at least you’ll reach the sky’. Just because people cannot fulfill all the law, all the time, do you suggest the laws should aim lower? (And see point 7 if you object that nothing in the secular world tries for perfection.) How does ‘Thou shall not commit adultery, except maybe once or twice if she’s really hot’ sound to you? That would match the reality of many guys, but is that a better target? What would you suggest, if not that we should strive for perfection? That we should strive for what we think our mood allows today? ‘Thou shall not murder, except when your boss yells at you on a hangover Monday morning’. 3) Okay, so if we shouldn’t aim for perfection, how about trying our best? But best, as a superlative, would entail perfection! Why aim any lower? I’ll be honest, if the Bible had a lower standard, believers would still fall short of those lowered standards! That is the nature of sin, rebelliousness and temptation. Tell people to come by 2 o’clock, and they’ll come ten minutes late. Shift the time to 2.10pm, and they’ll still end up late despite the added leeway! But see the next point. 4) Where do we ever claim that we are already perfect, or adhere to perfection? We merely claim to try our very best. Like the joke goes: Where do sinners go? To church! Christianity does account for the fact that no mere human is perfect. In fact, it is the very basis of our religion. That is why Jesus Christ was sent as our Saviour, as I mentioned. Christianity believes that He was the only one to never sin, and He graciously shares His reward (eternal life) with all of us who fall short, but did try our very best. 5) Your mentioning the priest thing seems to show that your view of organized Christianity and understanding of the Bible is lacking. Where in the Bible does it say, ‘Never question your priest’? In contrast, I can show you where the Bible condemns sexual contact outside marriage, homosexuality, causing little ones to stumble, etc. So perhaps you chose a poor example, but it is actually an excellent example of where watered-down laws like ‘Thou shall not fornicate, but like Bill Clinton said, oral doesn’t count’ are clearly inferior to perfection-demanding ones. 6) Your neigborhood analogy is flawed, because there DOES exist such a perfect neighborhood with perfect occupants. Christianity calls it heaven, and everyone CAN follow all the laws, all the time there. The laws for earthly living are meant to prepare us for a perfect hereafter. And any Christian worth his Bible study knows that this present world falls far, far short of the ideal. 7) Even in the real world, ‘perfection’ is often placed as the target. Take bowling for example – players aim for the highest possible score, which is attained by not missing a single bowl. Very few people have achieved that perfect game – so should we lower the highest possible score just because most people can never meet that target? Or should those who cannot bowl a strike on every try strive to better themselves? 8.) As I said before, see what happened in the real world when ‘unrealistic perfect expectations of behaviour’ were thrown out along with the rest of religion. Mass oppression, state sponsored slavery and 100 million dead was what happened. So history has already proven that – for all its flaws – religiously inspired law has its merits, and smartypantses who think they know better should run their experiments on a small scale before inflicting them on billions of victims. 9) Finally, let me close with a cartoon that illustrates my point about what standards we aim for. https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2007/09/17/do-republicans-support-the-troops-because-the-of-jesus-and-the-apostles/demrepmoralstandard/ Replace the Democrat donkey with an irreligious person, the Republican elephant with a religious believer, and the highbars with unambitious laws and perfection-demanding laws respectively. Yes, we may fall short of our higher standards far more often than those with lower standards. But at least we try to make those leaps to perfection! 133. PersoninNY Says: Simon Thong: Nope, wrong again. Come to think of it, you missed the ENTIRE point of that whole discussion. I wasn’t mis-stating the point of Christianity (or the countless other religions which follow the same basic script), but rather criticizing it. Here, let me put it to you in a method even you can understand: The Bible is supposed to the true word of a perfect God, so it is supposed to be filled with almost otherworldly wisdom and benevolence. Allegedley, those who follow God his perfect rule book, and are supposed to have some kind of perfect goodness instilled into them by this perfect being. That’s it in a nutshell; perfection is perfection–no two ways about it. If the rules which are supposed to come from this perfect being are capable of being misunderstood, then they aren’t perfect. If the alleged followers don’t follow the rules, then the system is futile–simple as that. It’s one thing if this was just a simple, worldly system, but it’s claiming to come from a perfect source, and that’s the problem. When the system is imperfect, it’s time to either change it, or simply stop saying that there’s nothing wrong. I’m not p*ssing on the wrong tree, so much as I’m calling the ‘tree’ out for what it really is–a rotted stump which is more convenient as a chamberpot, than as a pillar… 134. PersoninNY Says: Simon Thong: Nope, wrong again. Come to think of it, you missed the ENTIRE point of that whole discussion. I wasn’t mis-stating the point of Christianity (or the countless other religions which follow the same basic script), but rather criticizing it. Here, let me put it to you in a method even you can understand: The Bible is supposed to the true word of a perfect God, so it is supposed to be filled with almost otherworldly wisdom and benevolence. Allegedley, those who follow God his perfect rule book, and are supposed to have some kind of perfect goodness instilled into them by this perfect being. That’s it in a nutshell; perfection is perfection–no two ways about it. If the alleged followers don’t follow the rules, then the system is futile–simple as that. It’s one thing if this was just a simple, worldly system, but it’s claiming to come from a perfect source, and that’s the problem. When the system is imperfect, it’s time to either change it, or simply stop saying that there’s nothing wrong. I’m not p*ssing on the wrong tree, so much as I’m calling the ‘tree’ out for what it really is–a rotted stump which is more convenient as a chamberpot, than as a pillar… 135. PersoninNY Says: Woah, double-post; my mistake… 136. Scott Thong Says: Simon Thong: Nope, wrong again. Come to think of it, you missed the ENTIRE point of that whole discussion. I wasn’t mis-stating the point of Christianity (or the countless other religions which follow the same basic script), but rather criticizing it. Here, let me put it to you in a method even you can understand: The Bible is supposed to the true word of a perfect God, so it is supposed to be filled with almost otherworldly wisdom and benevolence. – PersoninNY Correct. Allegedley, those who follow God his perfect rule book, and are supposed to have some kind of perfect goodness instilled into them by this perfect being. That’s it in a nutshell; perfection is perfection–no two ways about it. Incorrect! Just as both I and Simon have said, Christians only claim to TRY THEIR BEST to attain this perfection – which we already know and admit we can never hope to, until the day we die and enter heaven. So Simon is right, you are mis-stating what Christianity believes. Even in your ‘explanation’ I cite above, that is what you are getting at! You are missing not only Simon’s point, but what your own comments have been portraying. Plain and straightforward: NOWHERE does Christianity claim its adherents are already perfected beings. If you continue to portray that it does, then Simon is completely correct in calling it a straw man argument. If the rules which are supposed to come from this perfect being are capable of being misunderstood, then they aren’t perfect. If the alleged followers don’t follow the rules, then the system is futile–simple as that. I believe that my Mozart analogy points out the fatal flaw in this line of argumnet. Oh look! I misspelled argument. That must mean that WordPress, Windows and the Internet are seriously flawed! Not my own carelessness on display here, nope, nosiree. It’s one thing if this was just a simple, worldly system, but it’s claiming to come from a perfect source, and that’s the problem. When the system is imperfect, it’s time to either change it, or simply stop saying that there’s nothing wrong. Ah, I see the problem here. Your definition of ‘perfect’. Here I am saying that ‘perfect laws’ means laws that guide the most excellent behaviour, while you are saying that ‘perfect laws’ means laws that are not only a guide to the most excellent behaviour, but also somehow magically transform adherents into 100% law-abiding citizens who get the full and unadulterated meaning of the words in the lawbook! As if the very intention to try and follow those laws will make us exemplary persons. You are thinking of a ‘system’ of not just laws, but laws that somehow automatically enforce behaviour among its adherents. Like some program that makes us obedient robots when installed in our souls. If that is your actual argument, then yes – I admit that the laws in no way change us into infallible supermoral beings. That is the job of the Holy Spirit, working over our lifetimes in preparation for heaven. Perfection is perfection, no two ways about it – but what definition of perfection are you thinking of? Dictionaries give multiple definitions, and I can add the Jewish idea of ‘perfect’ which translates to ‘functionally satisfactory’. I’m not p*ssing on the wrong tree, so much as I’m calling the ‘tree’ out for what it really is–a rotted stump which is more convenient as a chamberpot, than as a pillar… I argue that my ‘rotted stump’ is still superior to your ‘disintegrated molecules’. Those other disintegrated molecules (i.e. those leftovers from the Ukrainian Holodomor, Siberian gulags, Great Leap Forward, Cambodian Genocide) would probably agree. 137. PersoninNY Says: Scott Thong: No, that’s not what I’m saying, actually. Basically, the claim seems to be that religious doctrines are supposed to be an overwhelmingly positive influence, as they are claimed to come from a perfect source. Ergo, it follows logically that those who claim to follow them should follow\be signifigantly positivley influenced by no less than what is effectivley perfection. What is found in reality, however, is that this ‘Perfect system’ has numerous enervations, and is effectivley arbitrary–such a thing which should not be the case of a system, which claims to preach and instill perfection. Now, regarding your examples… 1) Once again, no. Motzart’s work–however wonderful it may be–does not claim to be from a perfect source, or create perfect pianists. Additionally, it isn’t even a perfect piece of music, so I don’t even know why you would use such a comparison. Additionally, Motzart’s work–unlike various religious doctrines–isn’t filled with various arbitrary interpertations, and whatnot. 2) Nope, wrong again. I don’t think that laws should aim lower, but instead I was arguing against absolute rules because they allow for manipulation, and corruption. Basically, absolutes don’t take into account other affecting factors, of which the events which govern everything, are rife. This obviously doesn’t mean to allow such hyperbles[sp] as you described, but it does mean to have rules which take other factors into accoun, rather then claim to be perfect, and never change. Perhaps I should have made this clearer (it’s hard finding the right words, sometimes…) 3) Nope. ‘Our best’, is not ‘The best’, so that’s an irrelevant point. However, if The Bible–or any other holy doctrine for that matter–did not claim to come from or produce perfection, that would be a start. 4) If the system which claims to be perfect and instill perfection fails even once, it is not perfect–plain and simple. However, this isn’t the issue. The issue is who is hurt by this failure–if the system which was supposed to produce perfection ends up causing any pain, it is a major failure, and should be re-vamped, or ignored. 5) No, the purpose of that was quite poignant, actually–it basically shows the massive failure of the system, and the resulting attempt to pretend that there was nothing wrong. The system is glorified as producing perfection, claims to come from perfection, and massive failure ensues–repeatedly. Not a good sign. Otherwise, basically if one is not to question God, and priests claim to speak on God’s behalf, then -don’t question priests, follows. 6) I’m talking about reality, not heaven or other worlds. Your comparison makes no sense to me 7) Again, that system does not claim to produce perfection, come from perfection, and no one is (seriously) hurt following failure. 8) Hitler was a Catholic. The church condoned the slaughter of all those innocent Jews. Moses was a murderer, and God constantly condoned his escapades. Don’t forget about The Crusades, witch hunts, and whatnot. Yes, irreligious times have produced plenty of evil, but the evil was never in the name of irreligious-ness; the same can’t be said of religious ventures. There may still be evil, but at least it’s not for things as unreasonable and preventable as others’ subjective impressions. 9) One good turn deserves another. It’s no cartoon, but it illustrates my point well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnj7PlqmJ5o Seriously man, you treat A world run by logic, reason, mutual respect and humanity above all like a poison of some kind. God forbid we should base our actions on empathy and compassion, then questionable authority! 138. PersoninNY Says: Scott Thong: Once again, wrong. Did I say that Christianity stated that people were perfect? Sorry if it seemed like that, but I didn’t. Here, I’ll say it again: If this system claims to be perfect, enforced by a perfect being, and produce the same in it’s followers, then there is no room for failure–period. If you’re idea is ‘perfect laws’ which act as guides, then there is effectivley nothing special about the laws of your doctrine, and (most) others–including secular laws. Seeing the hype that your doctrine has gotten, I expect no less then absolute perfection. If you admit that the system is merley a guide, then there is no real difference between other guides which have the primary goal of not having people act like cruel savages. When I saw ‘Perfect’, I am speaking of something without any capacity for flaw of any kind. Argue all you want, but my disintegrated molecules of all those crimes, are no different then the disintegrated molecules of your Crusades, witch burnings, and other scandal, commited in the name of perfection… 139. Scott Thong Says: Scott Thong: No, that’s not what I’m saying, actually. Basically, the claim seems to be that religious doctrines are supposed to be an overwhelmingly positive influence, as they are claimed to come from a perfect source. Ergo, it follows logically that those who claim to follow them should follow\be signifigantly positivley influenced by no less than what is effectivley perfection. What is found in reality, however, is that this ‘Perfect system’ has numerous enervations, and is effectivley arbitrary–such a thing which should not be the case of a system, which claims to preach and instill perfection. Now, regarding your examples… Much better! Now you are clearly explaining, so I’ll take a stab at summarizing what you are getting at (so that if I’m wrong again, you can point it out and lead me to understand what you mean): Your issue is that ‘perfect laws’ from a ‘perfect source’ should not be subject to varying interpretations. I think that’s what you are trying to convey, especially when your further comments repeat that point. So did I get it right this time? Whereas what I got from your earlier comments is that ‘perfect laws lead to perfect behaviour’. 1) Once again, no. Motzart’s work–however wonderful it may be–does not claim to be from a perfect source, or create perfect pianists. Neither does the Bible claim to create perfect people. Again. I don’t think that laws should aim lower, but instead I was arguing against absolute rules because they allow for manipulation, and corruption. Basically, absolutes don’t take into account other affecting factors, of which the events which govern everything, are rife. I disagree. For one, the only all-encompassing laws Jesus gave are ‘Love God’ and ‘Love man’. Very vague and subject to situational circumstances, wouldn’t you agree? The OT laws, by comparison, are actually very nuanced – read up on the many variations and factors taken into account for just one subject such as ritual sacrifice! For two, by arguing that religious laws are subject to interpretation, you have yourself qualified them as non-absolute in practise – as their interpretation is relative to the interpretor. (An atheist taught me that through demolishing another of my posts.) But good that our conversation seems to be getting back to solid points, rather than snarking. If the system which claims to be perfect and instill perfection fails even once, it is not perfect–plain and simple. However, this isn’t the issue. The issue is who is hurt by this failure–if the system which was supposed to produce perfection ends up causing any pain, it is a major failure, and should be re-vamped, or ignored. Agreed, but again, nowhere does the system claim to instill perfection. It merely encourages it, hence my ‘aim for the best rather than the mediocre’ line of argument. The system is glorified as producing perfection, claims to come from perfection, and massive failure ensues–repeatedly. Not a good sign. Otherwise, basically if one is not to question God, and priests claim to speak on God’s behalf, then -don’t question priests, follows. So one more time, enough of that idea that the system claims to produce perfection. I expect to not see it in any further comments. And your priests remark shows the common problem with pop-culture knowledge of Christianity – Christianity is Catholic. Hollywood gives you cathedrals and communion and priest confessionals, and that constitutes your understanding of ‘Christianity’. We are all priests now (1 Peter 2:9), Jesus is our high priest (Hebrews 6:20), the Holy Spirit our direct connection with God (Jude 1:20). I’m talking about reality, not heaven or other worlds. Your comparison makes no sense to me Christianity does claim to bring perfection. Just not in this world, but the next. Perhaps that is what caused yoru confusion over ‘instill perfection’. Hitler was a Catholic. The church condoned the slaughter of all those innocent Jews. Moses was a murderer, and God constantly condoned his escapades. Don’t forget about The Crusades, witch hunts, and whatnot. Yes, irreligious times have produced plenty of evil, but the evil was never in the name of irreligious-ness; the same can’t be said of religious ventures. There may still be evil, but at least it’s not for things as unreasonable and preventable as others’ subjective impressions. Hitler was an occultist. If you go to Asia, you’ll see swastikas everywhere! That’s because the Nazis took this Eastern religious symbol and reversed it (making it clockwise). The Roman Catholic church (which is by no means THE church for every Christian) sinned in its actions/inactions, in part because they valued the safety of their holy relics surrounded by Mussolini’s Italy more than the lives of innocents. I make no excuses for them. My argument is not that people have carried out evil in the name of ‘not-religion’. Rather, I contend that removal of religion opens up the floodgates of human evil. To be utterly mercenary about it, Religion = evil, No religion = Worse evil. Can you argue with that? And if religious laws are treated to subjective impressions, pray tell, WHAT ISN’T? Seriously man, you treat A world run by logic, reason, mutual respect and humanity above all like a poison of some kind. God forbid we should base our actions on empathy and compassion, then questionable authority! You have a straw man view of my stand. Logic? Like the logic guiding physicists who find it hard to deny an intelligent design to the universe? Or the many scientific breakthroughs over the centuries by God-fearing men and women? Reason? Like what I have been using to make my points all this while? Mutual respect? Like the tone you have been using towards my most cherished beliefs from the very start? Humanity? Like my constant railing against liberalism and atheism, which have expunged far more millions in just 100 years than 6000 years of all religions combined? Empathy? Like my constant attempts to see your point of view, among those of countless commentors whose views clash with mine? Compassion? Like my concern for the millions who suffer under the far inferior (yet self-assured) policies championed by the Left? Questionable authority? Like avowed atheists Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, Kim Jong-Il? —————————— In conclusion, you can talk on and on about how Christianity and the Bible are seriously flawed. But I will give you one simple challenge: Say you’re walking down a dark and abandoned street at midnight tonight. Suddenly, you bump into four burly, rough looking men and one of them trips on your feet and breaks his nose on the pavement. Would you honestly feel MORE or LESS worried if you knew that these four men had just come out from a Bible study run by a mainstream Baptist church? Tell me your honest-to-goodness answer to that one, with all your superior-to-religion morality and ethics. It says the world about what really matters in, y’know, the real world. 140. Scott Thong Says: Scott Thong: Once again, wrong. Did I say that Christianity stated that people were perfect? Sorry if it seemed like that, but I didn’t. Here, I’ll say it again: If this system claims to be perfect, enforced by a perfect being, and produce the same in it’s followers, then there is no room for failure–period. Okay, yes, maybe I did misunderstand. But look what your very comment here says: If this system claims to be perfect, enforced by a perfect being, and produce the same in it’s followers, then there is no room for failure–period. See what you did! You clearly stated, again, that Christianity claims to produce perfection in its followers! Nowhere do I or the Bible claim that. Can you blame me for getting the wrong message? Or is that what you actually are trying to say? If you’re idea is ‘perfect laws’ which act as guides, then there is effectivley nothing special about the laws of your doctrine, and (most) others–including secular laws. My idea is that the Bible’s guidelines lead to the best possible (perfect) results, if followed. I view them as superior to secular laws which lead to inferior results even if followed. This may not meet your standards, but it meets mine. That is a much more defensible position than what you repeat over and over, that Biblical law claims to automatically ensure flawless followers. Seeing the hype that your doctrine has gotten, I expect no less then absolute perfection. Well, that’s your problem, not any fault of ours! Read the Bible yourself instead of hearing ‘hype’ second hand, and see if it claims anywhere to produce Stepford Wives. Argue all you want, but my disintegrated molecules of all those crimes, are no different then the disintegrated molecules of your Crusades, witch burnings, and other scandal, commited in the name of perfection… Except, y’know, that you have quite a lot more in a much shorter span of time. Objective standards, my dear Watson. Your way kills better than mine. 141. Simon Thong Says: PersoninNY: Do you read what you write? Do you understand what you write? Your comments are a hodge podge of confusion. Yours is a criticism? Of Christianity? Definitely a criticism NOT of Christianity BUT of some warped version of whatever you think it is. I know Christianity and that is not what you are talking about. Christianity is about a sinful, imperfect world into which God, its Creator, sends His Son, Jesus Christ, to save and deliver. Perfection comes when Christ returns again, bringing with him a new creation. That new creation is perfect. This is not what you have been ‘p*ssing’ on. 142. Scott Thong Says: Here, just to drive home the point: As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.“- Romans 3:10-12 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:20-23 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – Romans 5:12 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.”- Galatians 3:11 Got that? According to the Bible, over and over, every single mere mortal among us is NOT PERFECT, especially NOT THROUGH THE LAW. This stands in stark contrast to your repeated notion that ‘the Bible claims it will make people perfect through following its laws’. Heck, if that were true, what is the inclusion of all the myriad punishments for sins in the Laws of Moses for? They’re there because it is expected some people will break the law! What kind of ten-page, super-abridged version of the Bible do you get your ideas from anyway? So I expect to hear no more of your silly misinterpretation on THAT POINT ALONE if nothing else. 143. PersoninNY Says: Ah, now we’re getting somewhere! Well this has dragged on quite long, and life will start to get in the way sooner-or-later, So I’ll respond accordingly: 1) No, my issue is that ‘Perfect laws’ from a ‘Perfect source’, should be true and compell others to follow them, all the time–especially if this source is allegedly all-powerful, and free of worldly imperfections. The Bible might not claim to create perfection, but allegedly Christianity does. Since The Bible is the book central to the religion, there is invariably a signifigant influence there. If perfection is not created (in this world) after bestowing instruction allegedly coming from a perfect source, then there is no reason to value this system over any other ‘Do-the-right-thing’ based system–simple as that. 1a) With regard to Catholicism though, it doesn’t matter. If a religion claims origin, guidance and authority from a perfect source, then it is to be a proverbial ‘child of perfection’. If one branch fails, then the religion takes it as a whole–plain and simple 2) I’m not saying that the laws are subject to interpertation, rather various parables, themes, and what-have-you are. If you’re one of those people who bases morality on things like that, then yes, they are quite imperfect, what with the changing situations and all. If you want to talk about laws though, they seem pretty absolute. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this why you oppose gay marriage? Because of an absolute rule? 3) Yes, I can argue with ‘Religion=Evil, No Religion=More Evil’, actually, for the simple fact that there has never (as far as I know) been any kind of major mass-evil anything, which was done specifically in the name of irreligion. Yes, atheist dictators killed people, but they didn’t do it in the name of atheism. Additionally, evil (horrible, horrible evil) has been done under religious circumstances–quite often, actually! The religious aspect just makes it so much more abitrary and horrible, vs. a non-religious one. (Kill the Indians because this land is ours from God! Vs. Kill the Indians, because we want thier land!). Regarding laws, those based on reason and objectivity are absolutley not subjective; don’t drive when intoxicated means just that. 3a) Hitler was fascinated with some eastern stuff, but his influences were primarily Catholic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hitler's_religious_views#Positive_Christianity 4) This’ll be fun to break down… Logic: As in the logic which makes positive (yet clearly stated as tentative) proclomations based only what is demostrably evident and objectivley verifiable, regardless of what one wishes to be true. I’m not interested in what others ‘think’ about the metaphysical, and I never said that the faithful were incapable of being reasonable or constructive. Reason: Like that which is not made based on staunch faith, and a priori stances. Reasoning which is based on what is demostrably evident and objectivley verifiable–investigative approaches which are not afraid to say ‘I don’t know why that happened’, and acknowledges that factors unexperienced played a role; not just filling in a gap with a fantastic ‘plug’. Mutual Respect: A benevolent understanding and interaction between parties. I have not used any ‘tone’ against your beliefs, regardless of whatever subjective impressions you may have had. Sorry if it seems that way, but it’s not what I’ve been doing. I’ve just been trying to state facts, nothing more. That ‘rotted stump’ comment was directed towards Simon, but he’s not exactly soft, either. Humanity: As in regarding the lives and actions as more than whatever your belief system tells you to; y’know, not condemning gays, and actually looking in to other views, besides basing thier validity on whether or not you want it to be true. By the way, Atheism has never killed anyone; that was the collective work of greed, cruelty, and other evils. I don’t know about Libertarianism[sp], so I’ll leave that for now. Empathy: Like that, yeah. Compassion: See, humanity. Questionable authority: Like avowed believers\leaders Peter Popoff, Ted Haggard, Martin Luther, Pope Boniface, and anyone who’s used said ‘perfect system’ to benefit themselves. —————————— In conclusion, The Bible, Qua’ran, Baghavad Gita, and whatever other religious texts that exsist, are all flawed. I’m just saying that there’s no reason to value religious morals over any other kind, since all that should matter is that they always help others, all the time. Human and non-human animals have all found ways to be good and bad, regardless of the alleged influence of some kind of immortal, celestial, anthropomorphic magician dictating thier behavior, so it doesn’t really matter. Besides, it the whole claim to fame of religious morality is that one’s actions will be rewarded or punished by some paranormal factor, then that doesn’t really speak to individual morality. Regarding the burly guys-No; it wouldn’t make me feel better. Even if it did, my opinion would certaintly be colored by my bias’ and upbringing, so it’s irrelevant, anyway. 144. PersoninNY Says: Simon Thong: Your statement made about as much sense to me. It’s not the whole thing, but a narrow subset–specifically, Scott’s statement that religious morals are somehow better than non-religious ones Okay, fine then. Time to simplify this: Without the alleged influence of any kind of god, how would the rules, ‘Don’t murder, rape, steal, cheat, or be a general cruel savage’ be any different if they were properly followed all the time by everyone? The answer? They wouldn’t, plain and simple. Regardless of magical, ethereal beings, if everyone did right, everything would be right–period. Honesty, charity, kindness, bravery, altruism, and general goodness aren’t religious values–they’re human and non-human values. The very first good beings didn’t even know what God was, and the same goes for the very first bad ones as well. How would people know whether or not to be good without religion? Simple; they would see how it effects everyone, and make rules accordingly. Y’know, like how religious systems did, before adding a magical entity to supposedly enforce it. Nope, atheism and other lack-of-belief systems don’t kill. The people who hold them might, but they are not the primary reason–plain and simple… 145. Scott Thong Says: The Bible might not claim to create perfection, but allegedly Christianity does. Again and again, you refuse to surrender this point. What is Christianity except based on the Bible? You make no sense except if I assume your sum total knowledge of Christianity comes from shows like The Exorcist and Bruce Almighty. If a religion claims origin, guidance and authority from a perfect source, then it is to be a proverbial ‘child of perfection’. If one branch fails, then the religion takes it as a whole–plain and simple Again, you conflate what Christians themselves believe. Let’s say a psycho cult appears, unilaterally claiming to be a ‘branch of Christianity’ and advocating dressing as anteaters. By your horrible reasoning, this would mean Christianity as a whole is into Furry Fandom, regardless of whether or not other Christians consider the Anteater Cult to be representative of their actual beliefs. Or to turn the tables… Me: I am part of an offshoot branch of PersoninNY. I like to rape squirrels. Bystanders: This PersoninNY is terrible to advocate raping squirrels! Do you catch my objection here? If you want to talk about laws though, they seem pretty absolute. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this why you oppose gay marriage? Because of an absolute rule? For how ‘absolute’ laws are, see my response to driving while intoxicated below. What do you mean by rule? One single, clear cut sentence on a subject? If so, then I base my understanding of the Biblical view of homosexuality on mutiple rules. They are listed at https://scottthong.wordpress.com/2008/06/30/bible-passages-that-oppose-homosexuality-including-the-words-of-jesus-and-god-himself/ Yes, I can argue with ‘Religion=Evil, No Religion=More Evil’, actually, for the simple fact that there has never (as far as I know) been any kind of major mass-evil anything, which was done specifically in the name of irreligion. You misunderstand. I am saying that lack of religion causes more harm than presence of religion, not that ‘anti-religion’ causes more harm. Can you argue with that? And even on the point of no mass-evil ever being done in the name of irreligion, apparently you are unaware of the mass ‘purgings’ of Christians by Stalin, Buddhists by Pol Pot, everything by Mao etc. that were carried out specifically to stamp out religion. Regarding laws, those based on reason and objectivity are absolutley not subjective; don’t drive when intoxicated means just that. What does driving mean? What vehicles count? What chemical in the blood? What level of that chemical counts as ‘intoxicated’? Real laws have many clauses and subclauses for just this reason. And you don’t find these in most of the OT laws. Then again, during OT times the judgment of the elders was final – no OJ Simpson lawyering antics to confuse things. Hitler was fascinated with some eastern stuff, but his influences were primarily Catholic Funny then, as a good Catholic he should have known stuff like ‘Thou shall not murder’, ‘Love thy neighbor’, ‘Turn the other cheek’, and ‘There are no different races in Christ’. Ergo, the problem with Hitler is that he did not have enough of the Bible hammered into him, not that he had too much! y’know, not condemning gays, and actually looking in to other views, besides basing thier validity on whether or not you want it to be true. I get this a lot: People think I am a rabidly homophobic hater out to ruin the lives of happy gay couples. Where do I sling slurs at homosexuals? All I do is clarify what the mainstream Christian belief is on the subject. Once again, I see nothing wrong from a humanistic standpoint in two consenting adults having a homosexual relationship. I don’t even take a stance on gay marriage. I merely dispute that the Bible does not condone it, it doesn’t seem 100% genetically determined, and that IMHO it doesn’t make sense from a preservation of genes standpoint. Questionable authority: Like avowed believers\leaders Peter Popoff, Ted Haggard, Martin Luther, Pope Boniface, and anyone who’s used said ‘perfect system’ to benefit themselves. Who died and made them God? Not to me. Nuff said. I’m just saying that there’s no reason to value religious morals over any other kind, since all that should matter is that they always help others, all the time. Whereas I contend that religious morals (specifically Christianity’s) have proven, in practise, to have better results than non-religious morals. Regarding the burly guys-No; it wouldn’t make me feel better. Even if it did, my opinion would certaintly be colored by my bias’ and upbringing, so it’s irrelevant, anyway. The point I’m trying to make is, for all your talk about Crusades and witch burning and alleged seething hatred, do everyday Bible-reading, churchgoing Christians you meet really fit that stereotype? 146. Scott Thong Says: Regardless of magical, ethereal beings, if everyone did right, everything would be right–period. Ah, but this begs the major question – how do you define what is right? What is general good? On what basis do you define it as such? Your opinion? Popular vote? Culture? My argument, plain and simple, is that the world tried defining morality and goodness without any influence of those silly superstitious religions. It didn’t turn out well. The very first good beings didn’t even know what God was, and the same goes for the very first bad ones as well. How would people know whether or not to be good without religion? Simple; they would see how it effects everyone, and make rules accordingly. Y’know, like how religious systems did, before adding a magical entity to supposedly enforce it. Of course that is the way you see it from your point of view, whereas the Biblical point of view is that the very first beings were in direct contact with God, and it is precisely our shelving of Him and moving farther and farther away that leads to all the problems in the world. Again, 100 years of religion-go-to-gulag social experiments seem to prove my thesis. Nope, atheism and other lack-of-belief systems don’t kill. The people who hold them might, but they are not the primary reason–plain and simple… An analogy. Humanity’s evil is likened to high voltage electric wires. Religious values are likened to rubber coating. Anti-religiousness as exemplified by the 20th century atheist states is likened to removing the rubber coating. So yes, atheism doesn’t kill in itself, just as removing rubber coating doesn’t cause electric shocks in itself. But both directly act as catalysts for the dire consequences that follow. Again, atheistic rejection of religious values – that have proven capable of holding society intact over 6000 years – is like dynamite blowing up the concrete of the Hoover dam of human evil, and all the little proletariat down in the valley suffer the consequences. They didn’t drown in dynamite, but who could argue that dynamite didn’t lead directly to their deaths? 147. Simon Thong Says: I think my statement is clear enough to you, PersoninNY. It contradicts what you claim Christianity to be. I’m saying you’re wrong. Isn’t that clear enough? 148. Nasaei Ahmad Says: Theists faiths based on scripture. Atheists believe based on what ? On guessworks ! 149. PersoninNY Says: 1) Fair enough. Once again, if the bible and its assosciated Chritianity are no more likley to lead to morality than any other ‘Do-good’ system, then what is the point of your constant advocating of ‘religious morality’, then? Seriously–yeah, the rules of Christanity (or any religion, for that matter) can lead to perfection, if followed correctly by everyone, at all times. This is true of ANY ‘Do-the-right-thing’ based system, so it’s all meaningless. 2) Even if you were on offshoot of me, I don’t claim to come from, or produce perfection under any circumstance. But with regard to the rest of the statement, answer me this; which branches of Christianity are real, and which ones aren’t? Whatever you say, there will be at least a few hundred people to agree, or disagree with you, so…yeah 2a) I’m no biblical scholar, but I never saw Jesus specifically say ‘Do not lie with your own sex’, nor have I seen homosexuality condemmed on the ten commandments: http://members.cox.net/deleyd/religion/tencommandments.html 3) Yes, I can argue against a lack of religion causing more harm then religion, actally. Religious countries tend to be poorer, and more socially ‘backward’, then less religious countries. Think ‘Iraq’ Vs. ‘Switzerland’ http://pewresearch.org/pubs/607/global-trade-immigration 3a) Those mass purgings were done simply to destroy other potential competitors. Basically, they didn’t wan’t religion because they didn’t want a power struggle–not because they hated religion, or because they were atheists 4) If I need to explain ‘DWI’ to you, then you should consider opening a law book… 5) Hitler had too much of the bible hammered into him alright, just not the parts religious folks like to point to when referring to said book as a work from a ‘perfect being’. You seem knowledgable of the evils in the bible, so I won’t go int that here 6) I’m too tired to cover the gay thing again, but whatever. Yes, stories, parables and whatnot are what I meant. 7) Then the atheists you cited are not important to me, either. I’m merley showing that there are bad guys on both sides, that’s all. 8) Good morals are good morals, magical beings or not. Like I said before, ‘Don’t harm others’ will produce peace between people when properly followed, theist, atheist, or pastafarian 9) No, ordinary church-going Christians typically don’t burn crosses and wage holy wars. Then again, typical irreligious folk don’t murder people, and act like jerks. Some of the best people I’ve known have been religious, and some have not. Same goes for some of the worst people I’ve known. I’m just saying that the mere exsistence of such evils under the alleged authority of a perfect source, does not convince me that religion makes much of a difference with regard to morality. I’ll say it again, when the rules of any ‘be nice to others’ system are properly followed by everyone all the time, good things tend to happen–religious or not… 150. PersoninNY Says: Simon Thong: Well, you’re wrong that I’m wrong. I wasn’t trying to contradict what you said Christianity was, but trying to argue against Scott’s religious morality thing. Yes, clarity is not an issue. Nasaei Ahmad: Nope, the atheist’s beliefs are based off of the exact same things as a religious person’s; personal philosophies, bias’, cultural teachings, and experience. Just, y’know, without any gods Scott Thong: How do you determine what is right? By how it impacts the well being of those around you–plain and simple. Honestly, if you need a belief in a higher power to tell you that it’s wrong to rape or cheat, that terrifies me. Anyay, you keep stating that when religion is removed, places tend to go downhill, and everything is worse for everyone. However, it seems like the exact opposite both historically, and in modern times: http://www.youtube.com/user/AronRa#p/u/65/HzmbnxtnMB4 You seem to be using ‘religion’ and ‘benevolent values’ interchangably, and that is the problem. A religion is merely a system of beliefs and rituals, which are held to with ardor and faith–that’s it. Benevolent values are merely principles, qualities, and actions which are seen as positive–that’s it. They are NOT interchangable. The reasons for the cruelty you describe range from a callous disregard to the lives of others, to a lack of informed decision making. Evil results from a lack of benevolent values–religious, or not. Use whatever analogy you want, but I’ll ask once again: Would the rules, ‘Don’t murder, rape, steal, cheat, or be a general cruel savage’ be any less benevolent, if there wasn’t a supernatrual entity to say so? I say no, because doing things like that can hurt inncocent people. But hey, maybe it’s just my crazy irreligious mind shooting off again… 151. Scott Thong Says: Fair enough. Once again, if the bible and its assosciated Chritianity are no more likley to lead to morality than any other ‘Do-good’ system, then what is the point of your constant advocating of ‘religious morality’, then? Maybe my responses are too long, but I said earlier: Perfection issues aside, I believe Christian morality to reap better results than secular morality. Thus my advocation of the former. But with regard to the rest of the statement, answer me this; which branches of Christianity are real, and which ones aren’t? Whatever you say, there will be at least a few hundred people to agree, or disagree with you, so…yeah Knowing this, you still deemed it worthy to throw out your remark on one branch failing, the entire tree fails? I’m no biblical scholar, but I never saw Jesus specifically say ‘Do not lie with your own sex’, nor have I seen homosexuality condemmed on the ten commandments If you want to criticize something, at least learn up a bit more in depth about it. I already provided my link which IMHO is a very clear and easy-to-grasp collection of Biblical passages. Jesus also never specifically said ‘Don’t bugger goats’, and thus by your faulty logic I should go bugger goats. Yes, I can argue against a lack of religion causing more harm then religion, actally. Religious countries tend to be poorer, and more socially ‘backward’, then less religious countries. Think ‘Iraq’ Vs. ‘Switzerland’ That depends on the religion in question. To wit, Protestant Work Ethic drove the Industrial Revolution alongside technological advances. Europe reached its pinnacle of wealth while still mostly Christian, and now at the tail end of decades of agnosticism and anti-religiousness are spiralling into debt and degeneration. America is still the richest nation in the world, and it is far more religious on average than Europe (e.g. half voted Bush). And don’t get me started on how financially successful anti-religious states have shown to be. Those mass purgings were done simply to destroy other potential competitors. Basically, they didn’t wan’t religion because they didn’t want a power struggle–not because they hated religion, or because they were atheists I can portray the Crusades and the Inquisitions as purely political power struggles that merely used religion as an excuse too. Crusades: The Muslims took a lot of Middle East and European land and strangled trade. The Popes wanted to prevent inter-European wars. Participating kings wanted influence and gold. Inquisitions: The control of the Roman Catholic Church and its aligned monarchs were threatened by individuals and groups that bucked the trend. If I need to explain ‘DWI’ to you, then you should consider opening a law book… My point is valid. Without exact specifications for how much alcohol is in the driver’s bloodstream, the ‘DWI’ law is subject to a wide range of interpretations. A teetotalling mom judge would rule even one beer too many, while a Kennedy would rule that driving while puking vodka out the window is not cause for a conviction. The point of this is, the Biblical laws don’t always come with minutia of subclauses. Hence, it is hard to classify them as ‘absolute’ and not open to any interpretation. Hitler had too much of the bible hammered into him alright, just not the parts religious folks like to point to when referring to said book as a work from a ‘perfect being’. You seem knowledgable of the evils in the bible, so I won’t go int that here Praytell, what points of the Bible could you possibly quote that explains Hitler’s actions? If you have ever actually opened a Bible before. Good morals are good morals, magical beings or not. Like I said before, ‘Don’t harm others’ will produce peace between people when properly followed, theist, atheist, or pastafarian Don’t harm others. Hey! You used the letter M, I hate that letter! Now I’m all emotionally harmed by your EVIL! Good, moral, harm, peace, properly, follow – every one of these terms is subject to vastly differing definitions, and even within one definition, widely ranging values. And no, just because you choose one definition or range of values, doesn’t make it right as long as someone out there disagrees in the slightest. What are you – God? See? Moral relativism sucks. Wanna argue? Tell me whether humans having sex with dogs is morally right, if the dogs initiate and apparently enjoy it. I’ll say it again, when the rules of any ‘be nice to others’ system are properly followed by everyone all the time, good things tend to happen–religious or not… In general, I agree. Where we would disagree, I’m sure, is whether 6000 years of cumulative experience via the religious model ‘knows better’ about what hurts individuals and society than the latest fad thinkers. 152. Scott Thong Says: Scott Thong: How do you determine what is right? By how it impacts the well being of those around you–plain and simple. Honestly, if you need a belief in a higher power to tell you that it’s wrong to rape or cheat, that terrifies me. On bigger issues like these, it’s a simple matter. But what about when it comes to more nuanced ones, like abortion and legalization of recreational drugs and homosexuality and zoophilia? Anyay, you keep stating that when religion is removed, places tend to go downhill, and everything is worse for everyone. However, it seems like the exact opposite both historically, and in modern times: IMHO, the only mass removal of all supernaturalist religion happened during the 20th century. And as I have pointed out, lots of horror ensued. The reasons for the cruelty you describe range from a callous disregard to the lives of others, to a lack of informed decision making. Evil results from a lack of benevolent values–religious, or not. Well for Christianity at least, being based on a benevolent Lawmaker, of course I believe the laws to be inherently meant for the good of humanity. Hence, removal of those laws is detrimental to the good of humanity. Isn’t ‘Thou shall not murder’ inherently good, even to you? Wouldn’t removing it logically permit murder? Use whatever analogy you want, but I’ll ask once again: Would the rules, ‘Don’t murder, rape, steal, cheat, or be a general cruel savage’ be any less benevolent, if there wasn’t a supernatrual entity to say so? Here’s the thing: The religious person says “You can’t murder, because God said so, God is the sole creator and owner of life, we are made in God’s image, etc. No excuses, no justifications. Murder is wrong unless and until God says otherwise.” Then came along the Marxists saying “What are a few lives lost if it is for the betterment of the many? The ends justify the means. Do you not cause harm with a little cut, in order to remove a life-threatening tumour? It is the same! A man’s life belongs to the man, and the man belongs to the State.” Who could argue with Spock’s maxim, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” on a neutral, objective, numerically-based moral scale? I can say that it is wrong to snuff out an innocent life even if it would save two lives, and justify it with “Because the Bible says so!”. What is your justification? Two too easy? How about for ten million lives? Right or wrong to kill the guy, and why? I am open to an education on this matter – I have changed my view before due to insightful reasoning by an atheist commentor. 153. Ron Says: “First, as usual and as is convenient to the polemicist, completely separate religions are conflated here. When in the last 100 years have Jews or Christians regularly beheaded, stoned or suicide bombed anyone?” Well, I don’t want to be accused of leaving Nasaei out of the discussion. 😉 Besides, both Christians and Muslims claim to worship the same god. And apparently some Christians yearn for a return to the good old days. http://www.afa.net/Blogs/BlogPost.aspx?id=2147492239 So are you claiming their interpretations are wrong, or they’re simply not true Christians? “Second, although the code has been used to justify the abovementioned, that does not mean that the code itself justifies it.” Should I quote the scriptures where God commands execution by stoning? “If you want a political comparison, does the Second Amendment enshrine every American’s right to bear arms, or is that merely the interpretation of certain individuals or groups (e.g. the NRA)?” I don’t follow your question. How does the Second Amendment, which grants the right to self-defense, factor into a discussion on morality? “Third, the moral code of one of the religions conflated above also convinces people to give to charity, serve humanitarian causes, and – whaddya know – end the slave trade by brute naval force. Do only religious folk do these good things mentioned above? No, many irreligious folk also do them. Many irreligious folk also commit crimes and atrocities. But is religion the main motivating factor in carrying out the good things mentioned above? For religious folk, it most assuredly is. Just as it most assuredly is the motivation for those who commit atrocities ‘in the name of god’.” Those thoughts can be nicely summed up in the following quote: “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” –Steven Weinberg “And what if the moral code is removed completely, leaving a void that is either not filled or filled with a different doctrine? Who said anything about removing the moral code completely? And why do theists think they have a monopoly on setting moral standards? Acting appropriately and showing consideration for others doesn’t require divine revelation… just common sense. All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum – Share everything. – Play fair. – Don’t hit people. – Put things back where you found them. – Clean up your own mess. – Don’t take things that aren’t yours. – Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. – Wash your hands before you eat. – Flush. – Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. – Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some. – Take a nap every afternoon. – When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. – Be aware of wonder. “Jews and Christians haven’t exactly carried out many crusades, witch hunts, genocidal campaigns, slavery, plunder, arbitrary executions for trivial infractions, punishment for thought crimes, ethnic cleansing, or all-encompassing oppression in the name of their beliefs in the past century. I’ve said it before: Critics of JudeoChristianity can harp on all the evils they think the Bible condones, but how many Jews and Christians actually carry out atrocities in the name of God in everyday practise?” Yes, thankfully modern-day Christianity have toned down most of its barbaric practices, but we’re not quite out of the woods yet — we still see lingering vestiges of intolerance, superstition, and opposition to reason. “Ah, but the self-avowed atheistic Communist regimes have. What a funny coincidence, that so many dogmatic, dictatorial regimes in the 20th-century chose to practically outlaw traditional supernaturalist religion in the course of furthering their society-changing agendas. It’s almost as if old-fashioned and outdated 2000-year old moral codes might obstruct the State’s slavery, murder and total control….” As I’ve stated before, none of those atrocities were committed under the banner of atheism. And as you’ve pointed out above, they were dogmatic, dictatorial regimes. — just like the theocracies they were competing against. If anything, those events illustrate the dangers of blindly following a totalitarian ideology, be it religious, political, or otherwise. “Imagine, if you would, a world where belief in a god who dictates a moral code has disappeared once and for all. Would it be better than the present world as you think it must be? A world run by logic, reason, mutual respect and humanity above all? Sure, if people were perfect. But history suggests otherwise. I believe that people are naturally b*stards to varying degrees. Some ‘irrational’ fear of divine judgment and moralistic indoctrination does their disposition wonders. If people were wholly logical they would do what is best for society and religion would have no purpose, but the reality is that people are not. From a wholly results-oriented, non-philosophical point of view, religion does more good than harm. So are you telling me that the only thing that prevents you from going on a killing spree or raping children is your fear of divine judgment? And your claim simply doesn’t hold up in practice. There are countless non-believers who lead ethical lives, demonstrating that “fear of god” is not a prerequisite for being a moral person. 154. Scott Thong Says: Okay, so I admit: Removing religion and all its ‘backward, illogical, superstitious’ moral codes and relying instead on people making their own choices based on their inherent reason, selflessness and goodness would work wonderfully… Only, in reality people are far more likely to be irrational, selfish b*stards. Removing the ‘cruel, oppressive yoke’ of religion merely frees them to be even crueler and more oppressive to one another than before. I remain firm in my opinion that the 20th century proved well what happens when people try to define morality without any so-called ‘guidance’ from so-called ‘invisible friends in the sky’ whatsoever. 155. PersoninNY Says: 1) And as I said before, morals are simply good values–religion aside. You don’t need to be Christian–or even religious–to know why taking a loaded assault rifle and opening fire on a room full of people is a bad idea… 2) You still didn’t answer the question… 3) Bugger goats if you want, but all you provided was a passage of what other people\things said. It basically amounted to ‘Jesus talked about heterosexual unions, and never mentioned gay ones.’ I’m not interested in scriptual debate, so I’ll leave that as is. 4) If you want to argue Christianity specifically, I can tell you that Christian nations became very wealthy by going against thier own doctrines–be it killing Indians, or that whole crusades thing, so religion had nothing to do with any goodwill there. It was a good work ethic (Pre-columbian south american indians and other civilizations had the same kind) that drove the industrial revolution, and you talk about degeneration, while enjoying the conveniences of modern life. In terms of overall human history, this is easly one of the most safe, healthy, and convenient periods in human history, and it also happens to be one of the least religious. Compare life now to one of the most religious times in human history–the dark ages. 5) It doesn’t matter. What matters is that they used religion (which according to you, is supposed to instill good more than non-religious morality) to commit evil. It’s as simple as that. Oh, and there’s that whole ‘Perfect Guidance’ thing too, so yeah. Basically, those atheists were certaintly terrible at some points, but at least they didn’t claim authority by a perfect being. 6) Nope, you’re point is as invalid as it was when you first tried to make it. The key word is ‘intoxicated’, as in ‘negativley impaired to the point of not being able to properly function, due to intake of a substance(s)’. THAT is the absolute portion, and is not open to interpertation. With regard to things open to interpertation however, if they have the capacity to become flawed in any way, then how can they be perfect? 7) Actually, I’ve read the bible twice, but I’ll answer you anyway. Basically, Hitler was signifigantly influenced by Martin Luther, a protestant priest who was also deeply anti-semitic. Specifically, Hitler viewed his mass-murder of the Jews as retribution, for thier murder of Jesus–it’s in ‘Mein Kampf’ 8) Well, if the letter ‘M’ harms you, you’ll just have to grow a thicker skin; you don’t see me complaining about having to constantly repeat myself, do you? Anyway, as previously stated, something is right if it doesn’t cause undue harm to innocent beings. I know that rocket science is hard to wrap your brain around, but you’ll get it eventually. No, I’m not God, and I fully understand that something is not right just because I say so. Rather, something is right if it doesn’t cause undue harm to others. The opposing party can argue all they want, but it’s ultimatley what causes the least suffering to the group that wins the old right-or-wrong tug-of-war. Seriously, did you really think that it was just a funny coincidince that things that are considered immoral also tend to be bad for the reproductive fitness of the group? Huh, morality isn’t hard to explain from a secular view, after all! Here’s some food for thought, though: What if God said that buggering goats and dogs and alien cyborg children was okay? 8a) I’ve already explained why human sex with non-human animals isn’t a good idea, and why I don’t consider it moral 9) Yeah, I think that fad thoughts can be destructive if not implemented properly. I mean, there were all those religious movements which caused all those wars, and there were all those people killing others after claiming higher authority, and whatnot. The enlightenment was great though, what with all that reason, logic, and believing in humanity, instead of ghosts and gods. Great times, espescially when it lead to the scientific revolution, which brought much of humanity out of filthy cottages, and onto these fancy high-speed computers, so we could talk to eachother from across the world!…Among other things, too… 156. Scott Thong Says: Besides, both Christians and Muslims claim to worship the same god. – Ron Conflation! Just because I claim something, doesn’t make it true – with or without agreement from the other side. To wit: “Ron and I share the same mom!” So are you claiming their interpretations are wrong, or they’re simply not true Christians? I’d lean to the former. Orcas are much more like tigers than cows. Should I quote the scriptures where God commands execution by stoning? Only if you include context on OT/NT differences, judging and application of Mosaic law by Jews themselves, the fact that I am not a Jew… As if you would ever be so thorough. I don’t follow your question. How does the Second Amendment, which grants the right to self-defense, factor into a discussion on morality? Does the Second Amendment grant the right to self-defense to every individual, or merely to city-sponsored official militias and the occassional hunter? Depends on your interpretation, doesn’t it? Else DC and Chicago’s gun bans would be clear cut cases. My point is, sure there is this and that verse in the Bible. But do those verses justify something, or are they merely interpreted to justify something by certain people? “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” –Steven Weinberg I would add, for evil people to turn to good, how often has rejection of religion (caveat: Christianity in particular) played a role? As opposed to conversion experiences? “Hello, I was a former alcoholic wife beater. But thanks to the power of THE LOGIC AND REASON OF ATHEISM, I’ve been sober and loving for the past ten years!” All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum That’s actually a very nice list. Except that it ought to also warn about bad kids who won’t follow the same list you do, heck, they’ll probably even intentionally do the opposite. Yes, thankfully modern-day Christianity have toned down most of its barbaric practices, but we’re not quite out of the woods yet — we still see lingering vestiges of intolerance, superstition, and opposition to reason. Don’t worry, now that atheism-by-force is in its dying days, I’m sure we’ll fill the void once more. As I’ve stated before, none of those atrocities were committed under the banner of atheism. And as you’ve pointed out above, they were dogmatic, dictatorial regimes. — just like the theocracies they were competing against. If anything, those events illustrate the dangers of blindly following a totalitarian ideology, be it religious, political, or otherwise. Yes, I’ve come to know how fond atheists are of coincidences. Answered prayers are coincidences, the universe is liveable due to coincidence, life formed and evolves completely due to whole strings of random coincidences, and that the worst regimes in the history of the world happened to be de facto atheist is just yet another coincidence. How can I argue with THE SCIENCE OF PROBABILITY? God does not play dice, as I hear, so I guess I must concede. So are you telling me that the only thing that prevents you from going on a killing spree or raping children is your fear of divine judgment? As I mentioned to PersoninNY, big issues like murder or rape are clear cut. But what about nuanced issues like abortion or zoophilia? Or what I posed to PersoninNY: Is it moral to take an innocent life if it would save two innocent lives? The good of the many over the few? Two lives too easy? How about if it would save ten million lives? What is your justification for your answer? (The Christian would say, actual actions or not: To take an innocent life based on anyone’s decision but God’s is always inherently wrong, based on what the Bible says.) And your claim simply doesn’t hold up in practice. There are countless non-believers who lead ethical lives, demonstrating that “fear of god” is not a prerequisite for being a moral person. Sure, I don’t deny that. Perhaps religion is not the only factor, but surely it plays a role in the decision-making processes of many individuals? So yes, chuck out all religion overnight: Based on the current state of humanity, would more or less evil result? Does taking away religion result in a better, more moral society? If you can cite any actual evidence or study, I’d be interested. 157. Ron Says: “Actually, I’ve read the bible twice, but I’ll answer you anyway. Basically, Hitler was signifigantly influenced by Martin Luther, a protestant priest who was also deeply anti-semitic. Specifically, Hitler viewed his mass-murder of the Jews as retribution, for thier murder of Jesus–it’s in ‘Mein Kampf’ Not to mention that centuries of religious propaganda had already conditioned the population to hate Jews with a vengeance, allowing Hitler to fan the flames of rage. 158. PersoninNY Says: 1) What about things like abortion and legalization of recreational drugs and homosexuality and zoophilia? It’s obvious why these things are considered wrong in the first place–they have a percieved negative impact on the well-being of the group. Obviously, people can’t work (and may be destructive) if they’re hopped-up on drugs all the time, as a species we are well-adapted to dislike the willful removal of members of our species, and I’m not going to explain the whole homosexuality and zoophilia thing for a 10th time. 2) Nope. The 20th century was easily one of the more religious times in American history, and between prohibition, the dust bowl, the great depression, the red scare, and all that other stuff, it’s hard to find something that religion did help! 3) No, not saying ‘Thou shalt not murder’ would not, and did not permit murder. The very first good beings didn’t require any kind of magic celestial entity to guide them, and neither do we. All that is needed is personalization, and the instillment of the value of a human life. 4) Simple, I can say that it’s wrong to snuff out a human life if it will save many, because that person may very well be an even greater benefit then those other lives. That aside though, the bible doesn’t ban killing one to save many; it glorifies it! After all, isn’t that why Jesus is so famous? 159. Scott Thong Says: You still didn’t answer the question… – PersoninNY Waugh! You know how many denominations there are? And each with different distinct sections of which I would have varying agreement upon? Bugger goats if you want, but all you provided was a passage of what other people\things said. It basically amounted to ‘Jesus talked about heterosexual unions, and never mentioned gay ones.’ I’m not interested in scriptual debate, so I’ll leave that as is. Okay, fine by me if you drop the issue, but my reasoning was clearly stated as ‘If Jesus didn’t overturn the OT example, we should assume the OT holds’. If you want to argue Christianity specifically, I can tell you that Christian nations became very wealthy by going against thier own doctrines–be it killing Indians, or that whole crusades thing, so religion had nothing to do with any goodwill there. It was a good work ethic (Pre-columbian south american indians and other civilizations had the same kind) that drove the industrial revolution, and you talk about degeneration, while enjoying the conveniences of modern life. I don’t recall the Pilgrims and Quakers going on mass slayings of Native Americans in the name of God. The Conquistadors, yes, but then they killing ritual human sacrificers, so that’s a little more nuanced… Good work ethic is all around, yes, but to deny a religious drive behind at least some of it is to ignore a historical fact. On degeneration, you do know that those bastions of irreligious irreverence in Europe are where zoophilia is legal and acceptable. But I suppose a religious bigot like me should keep my hateful mouth shut. In terms of overall human history, this is easly one of the most safe, healthy, and convenient periods in human history, and it also happens to be one of the least religious. Compare life now to one of the most religious times in human history–the dark ages. Yes, the safest and best for you. But not for the billions who suffered decades under the benevolent enlightenment of state sponsored atheism. Basically, those atheists were certaintly terrible at some points, but at least they didn’t claim authority by a perfect being. No, they claimed authority by their own selves – their own moral decisions. Which way turned out worse? Nope, you’re point is as invalid as it was when you first tried to make it. The key word is ‘intoxicated’, as in ‘negativley impaired to the point of not being able to properly function, due to intake of a substance(s)’. THAT is the absolute portion, and is not open to interpertation. With regard to things open to interpertation however, if they have the capacity to become flawed in any way, then how can they be perfect? That’s not how it works in the real world. Do try and get the judge to convict based on non-numerical, subjective values. My lawyer will have an easy time claiming bias, as the cops did not take actual objective measurements of my blood alcohol content, but merely ‘thought’ I was ‘intoxicated’. They used their interpretation to decide what ‘properly function’ means! My lawyer argues that by any sane definition, I can ‘function properly’ since I could get in my car and drive. The prosecution counters that since I was driving like a madman, I was not ‘functioning properly’. My lawyer objects that nowhere in the ‘absolute law’ is ‘proper function’ clearly defined. The judge cries silently as the case drags on to day 5 and wishes someone would invent a scientific method to objectively determine at what point people should be considered drunk – something like, y’know, how speed traps objectively show how much over the speed limit offenders drive at. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content#Legal_limits (This mini-debate is actually quite aside from the main topic, but it’s fun, which is a big reason I respond to comments at all, lol!) I will cease on arguing on the ‘perfect’ definition, as I should have made clearer at the start that your idea of ‘perfect’ does not gel with either the contextual idea (i.e. Jewish concept of functional perfection) nor my opinion that flawed interpretation does not automatically mean flawed message. Actually, I’ve read the bible twice, but I’ll answer you anyway. Basically, Hitler was signifigantly influenced by Martin Luther, a protestant priest who was also deeply anti-semitic. Specifically, Hitler viewed his mass-murder of the Jews as retribution, for thier murder of Jesus–it’s in ‘Mein Kampf’ You read the Bible twice, and still manage to miss all the parts about how no one is justified by law, only Jesus can save? Yes, Hitler was influenced by certain portions of the Bible. But as a twice-read-througher, can you tell me that he put equal weight on Jesus’ example and the fact that even in the NT and up till the End Times Jews are God’s chosen people? Sure, I’d think God tells me to carry out a Holocaust too, if I only remembered the parts about how nasty some Pharisees were. Well, if the letter ‘M’ harms you, you’ll just have to grow a thicker skin; you don’t see me complaining about having to constantly repeat myself, do you? Anyway, as previously stated, something is right if it doesn’t cause undue harm to innocent beings. I know that rocket science is hard to wrap your brain around, but you’ll get it eventually. You unduly harmed me by my arbitrary standards. Moral relativism is fun! Seriously, did you really think that it was just a funny coincidince that things that are considered immoral also tend to be bad for the reproductive fitness of the group? Wait, including homosexuality and its self-termination of genes coding for it? Huh, morality isn’t hard to explain from a secular view, after all! Here’s some food for thought, though: What if God said that buggering goats and dogs and alien cyborg children was okay? Lol! If that’s what God did say, I’d have to say sure! But that would also entail a massive re-envisioning of history to account for everything that JudeoChristian moral codes have influenced – including, perhaps, your own opposition to zoophilia. The enlightenment was great though, what with all that reason, logic, and believing in humanity, instead of ghosts and gods. And leading to that colonial swathe of destruction you mentioned, yes? ————— Thanks for the much discussion. It was actually a luxury to respond to all your comments, which I may not be able to repeat. But I will try my best, perhaps as the weekend draws near. 160. PersoninNY Says: 1) That proves my point exactly, but more on that later… 2) Not saying ‘No’ does not necessarily\automatically mean yes. That’s all I have to say 3) You’re absolutley right, most Quakers and Pilgrims didn’t go on killing sprees, and were quite ‘Christian’ in nature; note that we don’t see them around anymore. Those Christian colonists who routinley killed native shamen, and started religious wars with the indians however, they were quite successful–it’s thier decendants who are alive today. Regarding the conquistadores, there is nothing nuanced about it–killing innocents is killing innocents, period. Yes, some part of a hard work drive may be due to religion, but so what? Pre-colombian South-american indians, africans, and asians were all very hard workers, and achieved plenty without the help of any kind of Judeo-Christian anything. Barring that, our ancestors worked pretty hard too, and they didn’t even know what God or religion were! On degeneration, beastiality has been ‘legal’ in europe since literally around 8000 B.C.–trust me, this isn’t the fault of modern irreligious tendencies. 4) Atheism wasn’t the sole cause of thier suffering, nor was it a primary reason. Totalitarians didn’t supress people or keep everyone miserable in atheism’s name. Atheism was a by-product, not a cause. It turned out worse when religion was imposed, because now the cruelty was more arbitrairy, more widespread, yet somehow justified (You’re suffering because I’m corrupt Vs. You’re suffering because a perfect source has granted me power over you). Now, regarding the whole billions of people suffering due to others claiming authority from a perfect being…. 5) Nope. If you are unable to operate the vehichle in a manner which would not harm others due to intake of a substance, you are intoxicated. I’d like to find this lawyer though, I might need to see him in the future. 6) I read the bible at least twice, over 10 years ago, but that’s not the issue here. The issue is that regardless of what it said, he still managed to popularize his perversion, and get millions of people to follow him–that’s the problem of subjectivity under the guise of perfect authority. 7) Your standards are indeed arbitrary, but so long as no-one else is getting seriously hurt, you’ll just have to grow a thicker skin 8) Yup, that too 9) Nope, religion had nothing to do with my opposition to sexual perversions–that is a result of my upbringing (secular), and my own personal bias’. Either way, the point still stands? If God said that buggering all of those things were okay, would you do it? I wouldn’t. If you would though, then what makes your views better than anyone else’s? 10) Nope, that colonial swath of destruction was more pre-enlightenment, but nice try anyway. ____________ Same here. Responses will have to wait, as life gets in the way. Later, for now… 161. Simon Thong Says: Ron, your kindergarten stuff is really kindergarten stuff, and if your morality is still based on that, how immature! It is very convenient to lump everything under “centuries of religious propaganda had already conditioned the population to hate Jews with a vengeance”. That is the kind of sweeping overgeneralization that is not helpful. It overlooks the complex interplay of nationalism, class division, religion and political ambition. 162. Ron Says: Here’s an overview from Martin Luther’s treatise “On the Jews and Their Lies” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Jews_and_their_Lies And the Vatican didn’t remove “Let us pray for the perfidious Jews [Oremus pro perfidis Judaeis]” from the Good Friday liturgy until 1960 — 15 years after the Second World War. Can you honestly argue those viewpoints had no significant influence in shaping the European mindset, and facilitating the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany? 163. Ron Says: “Conflation!” Not really. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all profess belief in the same god. The main dispute is over which set of scriptures to follow and how they should be interpreted. By analogy, it’s like three employees arguing over which tasks they’d been assigned to complete, and the procedures they were expected to follow in order to complete them. “Does the Second Amendment grant the right to self-defense to every individual, or merely to city-sponsored official militias and the occassional hunter? Depends on your interpretation, doesn\u2019t it? Else DC and Chicago\u2019s gun bans would be clear cut cases.” I wasn’t present when the amendment was discussed, but I’d say the intent was to emulate the model employed by Switzerland. A nation of armed citizens with advanced weapons training is very difficult to conquer, because you can’t just seize control of the political structure and say mission accomplished. You also have to disarm the entire population. “My point is, sure there is this and that verse in the Bible. But do those verses justify something, or are they merely interpreted to justify something by certain people?” Shouldn’t a text purported to represent God’s absolute moral truth be concise and unambiguous? How is it that there are so many interpretations of what was intended? “I would add, for evil people to turn to good, how often has rejection of religion (caveat: Christianity in particular) played a role? As opposed to conversion experiences? A lot. And it all started in what’s now referred to as the “Age of Enlightenment” — the era in which reason and scientific enquiry were first advocated as the primary source of authority. “‘Hello, I was a former alcoholic wife beater. But thanks to the power of THE LOGIC AND REASON OF ATHEISM, I’ve been sober and loving for the past ten years!’” As opposed to the god-fearing men who cite scripture to justify their spousal abuse and child-beating? And though I was never an alcoholic or a wife beater, I gave up alcohol and drugs, without divine help, because logic and reason informed me that those activities were detrimental to my long-term health and happiness. So it’s not unlikely that others have made the same determination without going through a religious conversion. Quote: There is a high rate of recovery among alcoholics and addicts, treated and untreated. According to one estimate, heroin addicts break the habit in an average of 11 years. Another estimate is that at least 50% of alcoholics eventually free themselves although only 10% are ever treated. One recent study found that 80% of all alcoholics who recover for a year or more do so on their own, some after being unsuccessfully treated. When a group of these self-treated alcoholics was interviewed, 57% said they simply decided that alcohol was bad for them. Twenty-nine percent said health problems, frightening experiences, accidents, or blackouts persuaded them to quit. Others used such phrases as “Things were building up” or “I was sick and tired of it.” Support from a husband or wife was important in sustaining the resolution. Treatment of Drug Abuse and Addiction — Part III The Harvard Mental Health Letter, Volume 12, Number 4, October 1995, page 3. “That’s actually a very nice list. Except that it ought to also warn about bad kids who won’t follow the same list you do, heck, they’ll probably even intentionally do the opposite.” Perhaps, but the main point is that moral codes are not dependant on a belief in supernatural entities. “As I mentioned to PersoninNY, big issues like murder or rape are clear cut. But what about nuanced issues like abortion or zoophilia?” Well, the Bible doesn’t even address the issue of abortion. In fact, as I’ve already mentioned elsewhere, God is the planet’s number one abortionist: Religious objections aside, the central issue is how late into pregnacy abortions can be performed. The general consensus is that first-trimester abortions are preferable to later ones. As for zoophilia, I suppose a valid objection might be raised that bestiality constitutes animal cruelty, given that animals are incapable of providing informed consent. Then again, animals don’t ask to be slaughtered either, yet I don’t see too many Christians arguing against that form of cruely. “Or what I posed to PersoninNY: Is it moral to take an innocent life if it would save two innocent lives? The good of the many over the few? Two lives too easy? How about if it would save ten million lives? What is your justification for your answer? (The Christian would say, actual actions or not: To take an innocent life based on anyone’s decision but God’s is always inherently wrong, based on what the Bible says.)” The answer to both questions is no, it’s never moral to sacrifice others for the sake of an ideal. As Ayn Rand wrote, “To love the ideal and those who betray it, is to betray the ideal.” And those ideals (among several) were: – that the standard of good is not God or the alleged needs of society, but rather “man’s life” — that which is objectively required for man’s life, survival and well-being – that no individual — or group — has the moral right to initiate the use of force against others – that the organizing principle of a moral society is respect for individual rights, and that, the sole appropriate function of government is to act as a guardian and protector of individual rights. “Perhaps religion is not the only factor, but surely it plays a role in the decision-making processes of many individuals?” It also acts as a constraint in rejecting poor moral codes. Look how long it took to abolish slavery because religious convictions sustained the idea that this practice was sanctioned by God. Ditto for equal rights. And extending gay rights is still hampered in areas governed by religious zealots. “So yes, chuck out all religion overnight: Based on the current state of humanity, would more or less evil result?” Again, I see no reason why lack of religious beliefs should lead to total anarchy or barbarism. You can subscribe to a moral code without the threat of divine retribution. “Does taking away religion result in a better, more moral society? If you can cite any actual evidence or study, I’d be interested.” Sure. Read “Society without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment” by Phil Zuckerman. There’s also “Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle” by Daniel L. Everett, which provides a fascinating case study on the Pirahã people of the Amazon, who have no belief in gods or religion (though they believe in spirits which take on tangible forms). Ironically, he went there as a Christian missionary and ended up losing his faith instead. Videos of him describing his experiences are available on youtube and fora.tv 164. shaman Says: Turn on, tune in and dropout? 165. Nasaei Ahmad Says: “‘Hello, I was a former alcoholic wife beater. But thanks to the power of THE LOGIC AND REASON OF ATHEISM, I’ve been sober and loving for the past ten years!’” – Ron. Nice of my friend Ron. Anyone who successfully get rid himself from alcohol can perhaps attribute it (success) to..anything. To his “faith”, his believe, his mind/brain, or medication efforts..or whatever . I think brain has the power (ability) to think and lead towards anything better. But brain is not made by evolution, or given to us by our parents, but God. 166. Robert Says: Humans have painted themselves in a corner in sad attempts to define this being they worship. I still find it odd that there is such a backlash against scientific discovery and theory studies. And please, don’t think that I am attributing what I am about to say to all believers because I think there are those who do accept the mystery of their faith, embrace the amazing discoveries of science and view their concept of God as something more than it’s archaic depiction. But it seems most will not accept that. Just as Jesus attempted to pull the Jews out of the dark to use their hearts and minds versus blindly following laws written in stone; one would think that very example should have continued throughout the centuries as part of the basis for their faith. I view most Christians today perhaps as Jesus saw the stodgy Jews of his time. And please, I am not comparing myself to the son of god; just a concept the man was trying to convey to his people. Why don’t modern theists embrace the sciences and attribute each fascinating discovery and discipline to the greater glory, mystery and intellect of what we call “God?” To embrace and accept the fascinating challenges that this Creator has scattered throughout the Universe that It created? Creationists harp on “Creation! Creation! Creation!” without connecting it to the Theory of Evolution as just another puzzle piece their Creator, the Master Biologist actually created? Or DNA? Or Black Holes? The Medical Sciences, modern electronics, photonics, planetary geology and climatology? It’s the Creator, why are they not reveling in and studying the marvels of It’s creation? Religions should acknowledge the Sciences as the studies of the vast marvels of that Creation. Instead they reject it. It defies all logic and simple, common sense and turns away those who embrace reason and prefer Atheism to their aboriginal superstitions. 167. Scott Thong Says: Religions should acknowledge the Sciences as the studies of the vast marvels of that Creation. Instead they reject it. It defies all logic and simple, common sense and turns away those who embrace reason and prefer Atheism to their aboriginal superstitions. – Robert Pardon me, but I do believe that what you cite was the very motivation for many of the renown scientists – who were also devoutly religious – to delve into the mysteries of Creation. 168. Scott Thong Says: Nice of my friend Ron. Anyone who successfully get rid himself from alcohol can perhaps attribute it (success) to..anything. To his “faith”, his believe, his mind/brain, or medication efforts..or whatever . – Nasaei Ahmad Indisputably Proven Fact That God Does Not Exist Rehabilitates Hardcore Drug Addict Into Model Citizen 169. Scott Thong Says: Can you honestly argue those viewpoints had no significant influence in shaping the European mindset, and facilitating the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany? – Ron Only if you can argue that the Communists’ complete and extreme kneejerk rejection of all religion – including arguably benevolent moral guidelines – had absolutely no part to play in their forays into those social experiments that turned out oh-so-well. 170. Nasaei Ahmad Says: Why don’t modern theists embrace the sciences and attribute each fascinating discovery and discipline to the greater glory, mystery and intellect of what we call “God?” To embrace and accept the fascinating challenges that this Creator has scattered throughout the Universe that It created? Creationists harp on “Creation! Creation! Creation!” without connecting it to the Theory of Evolution as just another puzzle piece their Creator, the Master Biologist actually created? Or DNA? Or Black Holes? The Medical Sciences, modern electronics, photonics, planetary geology and climatology? It’s the Creator, why are they not reveling in and studying the marvels of It’s creation? Religions should acknowledge the Sciences as the studies of the vast marvels of that Creation. Instead they reject it. – Robert. Believers in God (of any religion) do NOT reject science. So, Robert statement is INCORRECT I think. I personally believe in evolution. I believe God made, arrange, fixed every single things INCLUDING EVOLUTION, gravity, physic, DNA, amino acid/protein, cells etc, etc. Science cannot confirm, why there was/ is evolution. Man keeps believing in evolution or anything which they CANNOT explain in detail (without complete knowledge) but God has complete. So..they all rely on guessworks, believes or their personal thoughts. Furthermore, what makes evolution ? Evolution makes evolution ? Then you would probably talking about physic which common peoples (and scientists as well) cannot have an answer, no absolute truth, but keep guessing..hypothesis by hypothesis. Many theories were renewed, amended. Is that absolute? 171. Scott Thong Says: Not really. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all profess belief in the same god. The main dispute is over which set of scriptures to follow and how they should be interpreted. By analogy, it’s like three employees arguing over which tasks they’d been assigned to complete, and the procedures they were expected to follow in order to complete them. – Ron How about using my preferred analogy? The analogical equivalents of Judeo-Christianity says this: Ron is a commenter who frequents this blog. He is a self-declared atheist and often spars with the blog host as well other commentors, in particular Simon Thong and Nasaei Ahmad. He is well versed in the Bible, which aids in his dissecting the various moral problems and contradictions found in Christianity. Agreed so far? Now add in what the analogical equivalent of Islam says: Ron is a commenter who frequents this blog. He is a self-declared atheist. He is also a big fan of hedgehog-crab kinky sex. He has often voiced his fantasy desire which blends Would you agree to the second? Hey, the first two sentences in it were accurate! What is more, I claim that the whole thing is true. So yes, Islam claims that theirs is the same god of Abraham, Moses and Jesus. But look deeper, and many disparaties surface. (Well, actually it claims that theirs is the god of Ibrahim, Musa and Isa – who again have totally different bios from the Biblical versions!) Another analogy, it’s like you and me talking about JFK who was President of the United States, led the nation through the Cuban Missile Crisis, was assassinated… And then, as I claim, turned into a hundred-foot long tripel-headed lightning-dragon. On the surface, same person… Dig deeper, and it’s obvious we aren’t on the same wavelength at all. 172. Ron Says: “Only if you can argue that the Communists’ complete and extreme kneejerk rejection of all religion – including arguably benevolent moral guidelines – had absolutely no part to play in their forays into those social experiments that turned out oh-so-well.” There’s nothing to argue, because the historical evidence is indisputable: Stalin’s atrocities were motivated by a dogged determination to crush any and all political opposition to his Utopian ideal of collectivism. There isn’t a single historian who attributes his genocides to atheism. 173. Ron Says: “How about using my preferred analogy?” Your preferred analogy? Sorry Scott, but just because you’d like it to be so, doesn’t make it so. “The analogical equivalents of Judeo-Christianity says this: Ron is a commenter who frequents this blog. He is a self-declared atheist and often spars with the blog host as well other commentors, in particular Simon Thong and Nasaei Ahmad. He is well versed in the Bible, which aids in his dissecting the various moral problems and contradictions found in Christianity. Agreed so far?” Yes, because those are all statements of fact which can be easily verified by reading through my previous comments. “Now add in what the analogical equivalent of Islam says: Ron is a commenter who frequents this blog. He is a self-declared atheist. He is also a big fan of hedgehog-crab kinky sex. He has often voiced his fantasy desire which blends. Would you agree to the second? Hey, the first two sentences in it were accurate! What is more, I claim that the whole thing is true.” Here’s where your analogy falls short. There’s no evidence anywhere on this blog to support the claim made in the last statement (unless the blog author has willfully and maliciously edited one of my comments to impugn my character). And since I’m still very much alive, any inherent misunderstandings or ambiguities about what I wrote can be quickly laid to rest by asking me directly for clarification. Furthermore, I haven’t decreed my comments as an absolute and immutable truth, codified them into a religious dogma prescribing how others should live, or assembled a faithful following to proselytize the message — nor would I want to. In fact, I prefer the exact opposite: do your own research, weigh the evidence, challenge my assertions, and then draw your own conclusions based on the merits of my arguments. Do any of the three Abrahamic creeds offer that option? “So yes, Islam claims that theirs is the same god of Abraham, Moses and Jesus. But look deeper, and many disparaties surface. (Well, actually it claims that theirs is the god of Ibrahim, Musa and Isa – who again have totally different bios from the Biblical versions!)” Nonetheless, all three religions more-or-less agree that their moral code was revealed by the same deity, whatever name you may wish to assign him (Allah, Yahweh, Elohim, Adonai, Jehovah, Almighty God, Lord, Creator, Heavenly Father, etc). And sadly, it’s precisely because of disagreements over who possesses the original script and distribution rights to God’s revealed truth that we’ve endured so much bloodshed over the last two millennia. “Another analogy, it’s like you and me talking about JFK who was President of the United States, led the nation through the Cuban Missile Crisis, was assassinated… And then, as I claim, turned into a hundred-foot long tripel-headed lightning-dragon. On the surface, same person… ” Sure, you might claim that.. and then you’d be labeled delusional and mocked mercilessly for expressing those beliefs in public. Then again, for religious adherents, a triple-headed lightning dragon wouldn’t seem all that far-fetched since you already believe in talking snakes, talking mules, talking bushes, satyrs, giants, and unicorns. 174. Robert Says: “Pardon me, but I do believe that what you cite was the very motivation for many of the renown scientists – who were also devoutly religious – to delve into the mysteries of Creation.” No doubt! Only to find no evidence for it. 175. Simon Thong Says: “Pardon me, but I do believe that what you cite was the very motivation for many of the renowned scientists – who were also devoutly religious – to delve into the mysteries of Creation.” And they continue to find evidence that creation reflects a Creator. 176. Simon Thong Says: Statement of fact: He is not well versed in the Bible except for the parts, which he quotes out of context. 177. Robert Says: List the factual evidence that will support a theory. Oh, and the bible is just one of many conflicting stories of many religions conjured by men over time. 178. Scott Thong Says: And the claim that no supernatural exists is yet another conflicting claim. 179. Simon Thong Says: …the claim that no supernatural exists is yet another conflicting claim, and it may be added, a claim ignored by the world at large. A claim that a small minority clings to, hoping against hope that someone, somewhere, will jump into their little bandwagon that goes to dusty death. A small minority that, like King Canute, tries, in vain, to hold the tide back. 180. Nasaei Ahmad Says: No doubt! Only to find no evidence for it. – Robert. Science has given us the the evidence. To me among others is, the existence of you, and me.. (without being asked to exist)..and the existence of all things (which science didn’t create them..nor the delusion so co-called “evolution”). If science agree..non living things, or non-life matters came into existence first..e.g earth, rocks etc…and later on followed by cells or other life..so where did those living matter came from ? (if not creation by God). Rocks and sand crystal produce life? I don’t think science confirmed that ! Science has yet to confirm if iron ore can turn gold either. Life emerged from non life matters ? It first started to crawl out of rocks holes billion of years ago??…then spread, ..reproductions ? Stop believing about evolution if thousands of questions remained unanswered by science ! Complete delusion. Total guessworks Darwinian. Thousands of evidences more atheists unwilling to accept. They just know one word: “evolution”, “evolution” ! 181. Robert Says: http://www.livescience.com/health/Tibetans-underwent-fastest-evolution-seen-in-humans-100701.html 182. Nasaei Ahmad Says: I came across an atheist’ article on internet few days ago. It says, “no traces of god ever found by man”.. and they concluded therefore god doesn’t exist! Funny. I laughed when reading that inanity. The writer used word “traces” Perhaps atheists thought that God..is like a wild animal..the clue is like finding a fox, or rhinocerous. When there is no “traces”, there is no fox! I advise, you must first be completly sure, understand of what you are finding, or looking for. If you want to find fishes for example, do go and climb a mountain to find them? Fishes lived in water. Secondly you must know their characteristics, attributes etc. Now they were looking to meet God ! First, they must know and understand what God is; what’s His attributes/characteristics. Atheists have wrong stupid idea from the beginning about what we understand by the word “God”. Therefore, No wonder they cannot and failed to find God ! If I were asked to find a squirrel, I must know what “squirrel” is. Otherwise, I may not ever find it because I do not know what it is all about. Recently I had already explained my view. I don’t know what other faiths’ concepts of “God” is. So I cannot explain Christianity’s concept. However, by Muslims’ “concept”, the following are among the many characteristics (attributes) of God: 1) He is seeing all things (His creatures), and listening. Nothing hinders Him from His veiw, hearing/ listening, or His knowledge 2) His creatures cannot see Him whatsoever 3) He is NOT like ANY of His creatures/ creation (see verse al-Ikhlas, Quran)- We can see His creatures but not Him ! 4) He is not male or female 5) He has no son (or father or mother) 4) He will not “incarnate”, appear or 5) He has no beginning nor ending Beside, He is the real/absolute bestower, cherisher, sustainer, decider, planner etc. etc In short, He is NOT like anything (not like what atheists have in mind!). Not logic? “Logic” maybe applicable to creatures but not Him..and “logic” is not absolute, applicable to mind only (maybe) but NOT to God. As such, (God cannot be seen)..is it not futile and inane for atheists to track the “traces” of God. God is NOT wolverine, fox or civet cat ! You can only find (and see) His works, His creations, including what you called it “evolution”).. Read, learn, study, listen, watch, think is the better way.. 183. Robert Says: Profound revelations, Nasaei. The same can be said for Santa Claus. Many Christians may take issue with number 5. Then why do you call it “He?” And just how foolish do you think the religious look who see and talk to something that isn’t there? To me they look and act no different than their ancient ancestors who would dance around a bonfire at midnight, beating sticks and gibbering at the moon for a good hunt the next day. “Beside, He is the real/absolute bestower, cherisher, sustainer, decider, planner etc. etc” Afraid to add “scientist” to the list? Astronomer? Biologist? Climatologist? Geologist? Physicist? etc? You call it the “creator”, why not give credit for it’s “creation?” And yes, you can find fishes by climbing a mountain….in fossils, or in a mountain stream. Never was and never will be. 184. Ron Says: Nasaei, get back to me when you, Scott, and the billions of other religious inhabitants on this planet finally reach a binding consensus on your deity’s/deities’ attributes and special wishes for humanity. Of course he/she/it/they will still have to verify his/her/it’s/their existence and prove the superiority of his/her/it’s/their moral code 185. Ron Says: “Logic” maybe applicable to creatures but not Him..and “logic” is not absolute, applicable to mind only (maybe) but NOT to God. Well, that would certainly explain his irrational behavior and violent mood swings he exhibits in the stories written about him in the Bible. 186. Nasaei Ahmad Says: My friends Robert and Ron.. Regarding “logic” I mean..for example we (theists) say”God has no beginning”. It is not logical anything/ creature has no beginning?, no end (eternal, immortal etc.) Everything has a beginning, and will be vanished later on. But God is not a creature (uncreated). So please don’t ask “who created God” another funny idea by some unbelievers. If He is created by anyone, then he/it is not God. 187. Nasaei Ahmad Says: I’m sorry Robert..your mastery is words play, words “gymnastics” that I cannot or unable to compete maybe. But Scott either also can’t win his debate with you and Ron? Maybe. I’m NOT a jury. 188. Robert Says: If god has no beginning then the very physical universe is god. 189. Joe the Plumber Says: Can’t be bothered to read over 188 responses, so I’ll cut right to the chase: First prove your invisible skydaddy exists! Then prove he wrote the book you claim he authored. Then convince me why anyone would want to worship such an aclown… and then we’ll talk about why your morality isn’t worth a fig.

190. Scott Thong Says:

1. Religious folk follow think their supreme god gave rules to follow;
2. Irreligious folk instead say that all rules are just made up by people;
3. Hey! In that case let’s just make up our own rules!

Or in other parlance, Lenin/Stalin/Mao/Pol Pot/Kim’s 100 million massacred under the proud banner of humanistic atheism. Those Crusaders sure look like amateurs next to those guys, hyuk!

Go reds!

191. Joe the Plumber Says:

I figured you’d deflect the question, and you did.

BTW, [i]Tu quoque[/i] is a logical fallacy. Even if ALL atheists were communists AND all atheists/communists were morally bankrupt, homicidal maniacs (none of which you’ve even remotely proven), it still wouldn’t erase the unpleasant fact that many massacres throughout human history were carried out for religious reasons.

192. Scott Thong Says:

I don’t need or aim to absolve all religiously motivated atrocities… Merely disprove your claim that religious beliefs lead to the least moral results. Cite atheist bloodletters and, ta-daaah!

1) It’s a well known troll tactic to post attacks and accusations, wait for lengthy and carefully thought of responses, and respond by ignoring the reply and going straight into more attacks and accusations (wash, rinse, repeat);

2) You’re too lazy to read the preceding comments, so how do you know someone hasn’t already proactively laid out the answers to your questions in those comments, or the 15000 other comments, or the 1590 other posts I have up? From there to me taking the bother to respond to your questions, I’m following your lead.

193. Joe the Plumber Says:

The point being that humanity was mired in the dark ages for centuries until the yoke of religion was removed. If you want modern examples of backward nations, you need look no further than Islamic countries… which in your case happens to be right in your own back yard. 8D

194. Scott Thong Says:

Yes, the good men of atheistic thought were so eager to remove the yoke of religion, that they lopped the heads off most of the people in the process.

195. Joe the Plumber Says:

SOME atheistic men were ruthless basterds, but a tiny subset doth not constitute the whole set. Positing that all atheists are immoral is to paint with a broad brush.

196. Joe the Plumber Says:

Ah, I see you edited and revised one of your posts after I’ve already responded, which renders your moral preaching shallow.

Good Day. It was fun while it lasted.

197. Scott Thong Says:

And that makes your painting of all religion, including lumping totally at odds Islam with Christianity and Eastern religions, what exactly?

198. Scott Thong Says:

Ah, so observant are you, did my revision change the gist or body of what I said? And did I actually see your comment before I touched up my own? Or did, according to your excellent – nay, nigh photographic – memory, merely add an additional sentence of attempted clever wordplay?

But seriously, who do you think I am – Markos Moulitas scrubbing his post calling Giffords dead to him with nary an admission?

199. Simon Thong Says:

Joe the Plumber Says:
February 17, 11 at 6:59 pm

Can’t be bothered to read over 188 responses, so I’ll cut right to the chase..

What a lazy troll! A waste of time with such a one..he really plumbs the depths for superficiality. And hit and run, too…scared to face the truth of his own intellectual malaise.

200. Joe the Plumber Says:

I’m cutting to the chase ’cause Scott’s little is based on the unproven assumption that god exists and directs our moral code. There’s little point in discussing the tedious minutiae of your argument when the entire premise is still in question.

201. Simon Thong Says:

“There’s little point in discussing the tedious minutiae of your argument when the entire premise is still in question.”

I could paraphrase:
“There’s little point in taking your comments seriously when the the enture premise of your argument is based on what you did not read.”

202. Simon Thong Says:

“There’s little point in discussing the tedious minutiae of your argument when the entire premise is still in question.”

I could paraphrase:
“There’s little point in taking your comments seriously when the the entire premise of your argument is based on what you did not read.”

203. ibrar0 Says:

I have a question about morality of religions, what you have explaination of sacrificing of his own son by abraham….Could God ask for this brutal act ????

204. Scott Thong Says:

Well ibrar0, first of all God is the author, owner and creator of all life. Murder is wrong because humans are not the creators of life – only God can rightfully take away a life.

What’s more, God had specifically give Isaac to Abraham through a miracle – something which was otherwise impossible, since Abraham and Sara were already around 100 years old! Therefore without God, Isaac wouldn’t even have been alive.

And of course, God meant it all as a test. God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but had no intention of actually letting Abraham carry out the act. (You could say it’s like those thriller films where the hero pretends to join the bad guys, and the bad guy leader tests the hero by giving him a gun and telling him to shoot an innocent captive. Actually, the gun has no bullets – it’s just to test the hero.)

Finally, there WAS a son who was sacrificed on the altar – Jesus Christ, the son of God, who died to pay for all mankind’s sins. So God was not brutal in asking Abraham to try and sacrifice Isaac – but instead, God was incredibly loving to sacrifice His own son for Abraham!

I hope this is a satisfactory response.

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