Cross Examination: Is There a Moral Law?

The existence of a moral law is something that I’ve pondered for quite a while, in many different contexts.  On the one hand, you have the religious, who say that there is a moral law.  On the other, you have moral relativists (and others) who say that morality is not fixed (or that it evolves).

morality

 

Is a Moral Law Undeniable?

Those that believe in a moral law make the following argument:

“If there really is no absolute truth, then their absolute claim that ‘there is no absolute truth’ can’t be true.  You can see that the relativist’s statement is irrational  because it affirms exactly what he’s trying to deny.”

Is the answer to the argument over a moral law that simple?  Must there be a moral law simply because there can’t NOT be moral law?  Is a moral law undeniable?

Is a Moral Law Dispensable?

The website NoGods.org has an interesting argument against the existence of a moral law:

“Make your own good and evil.  If there is no moral law standing over us, that means we’re free — free to do whatever we want, free to be whatever we want, free to pursue our desires without feeling any guilt or shame about them.  Figure out what it is you want in your life, and go for it; create whatever values are right for you, and live by them…

The old moral laws are left over from days when we lived in fearful submission to a nonexistent god, anyway; with their departure, we can rid ourselves of all the cowardice, submission, and superstition that has characterized our past…

“But what would happen if everyone decided that there is no good or evil?  Wouldn’t we all kill each other?  This question presupposes that people refrain from killing each other only because they have been taught that it is evil to do so.  Is humanity really so absolutely bloodthirsty and vicious that we would all rape and kill each other if we weren’t restrained by superstition?  It seems more likely to me that we desire to get along with each other at least as much as we desire to be destructive — don’t you usually enjoy helping others more than you enjoy hurting them?

Synopsis: An “objective moral standard” (or moral law) came from a time when almost everyone believed in God; we’re better than that now.  Without God, there is no longer an objective standard.  Everyone should make their own standard.  And don’t worry, because when everyone’s making their own standard, then everyone will probably end up doing the “right” thing, instead of the “wrong” thing.

Questions About a Moral Law

Wait a second!  Even by saying that “we desire to get along with each other at least as much as we desire to be destructive,” doesn’t that assume that, somewhere along the way, “getting along with each other” is somehow made good, and “being destructive” is somehow made bad?

Another question in my mind is this: if one advocates for each person having their own moral authority, based upon the nebulous assertion that people would choose to do good, rather than to do evil, how do you explain the necessary existence of governments?  Must one also argue that a society without a government would be better than a society with a government?  If we don’t need to impose laws on people in order to make them adhere to a standard of “good,” then what good is a government?  If everyone is good, then anarchy is the best form of government.

What do we make of surveys that have been done that show that people would commit crimes, if they feel sure that they could get away with them?  What do we make of the aftermath of natural disasters, when there is an increase in crime in the absence of a functioning government?  What do we make of companies that are so hot in pursuit of profit that they trample on consumer rights, employee rights, and the environment?

Morality by Committee

Or, perhaps, the best alternative to a “moral law” is a morality by committee, or morality by majority?  In other words, morality is dictated to a society by the government.  There are several problems I see with this view:

  1. Morality can then be dictated to the many by the few.  The “elite” then control the morality of a society.  Who’s to say that their morality is any better than others’?
  2. Morality can then be determined by whoever has bigger guns.  If the United States were to be overthrown militarily by a Muslim country, then our morality would then instantly change.
  3. Morality is politically driven.  I’m not convinced that morality gets better over time in this situation.  From 1994 to 2008, most on the left would say that the morality dictated by the U.S. government was in decline.  From 2008 to 2011, many conservatives would say the same thing.

In this case, morality is still relative.  It’s just that some people have relinquished their individual moral authority to a smaller set of people, whose morality is still derived from themselves.

Question: Do you think there is a moral law?  If not, how does one determine morals?

This post is in my series called “Cross Examination: Is Debunking Christianity Possible?” I’m looking at a myriad of topics in the rational examination of my faith, and will write one post per week for the next year. If you would like to read some of the previous posts in this series, click on the links below:

  • Anonymous

    If there really is no absolute truth, then their absolute claim that ‘there is no absolute truth’ can’t be true.[bold added] 

    ‘Sorry, strawman

    I, as an Agnostic Atheist, am not claiming, ABSOLUTELY, that there “is no absolute truth. What I’m claiming is that moral objectivists – for instance, Christians –  have no evidence that there is an absolute “Morality” and that it is found in the “Body of Christ”.  

    For instance, take a one of the “Commandments: “Thou shalt not lie”. 

    Is it always, in every conceivable situation, “wrong” to tell a lie? If you are an intelligent, sane adult, you know the answer is NO.

    Which  You can see that the relativist’s statement is irrational  because it affirms exactly what he’s trying to deny.

    No. What you can see is that the moral objectivist creates a distorted, inaccurate version of the relativist’s argument in an attempt to make it easier to knock down….i.e..strawman

    • Anonymous

      Wait a second!  Even by saying that “we desire to get along with each other at least as much as we desire to be destructive,” doesn’t that assume that, somewhere along the way, “getting along with each other” is somehow made good, and “being destructive” is somehow made bad?

      Which boils down to this: the survival of conscious beings(“good”), vs the extinction of conscious beings(“bad”). If there’s no consciousness to perceive anything, then surely things like “good”/”bad” and “subjectivity”/”objectivity” are meaningless.  

      But more importantly, supposing that there is an invisible being in the sky who tells us the difference between “right” and “wrong”(assuming we’re too stupid to figure it out), and let’s say, for instance, that he/she/it tells us, “loving your neighbor is good!”. Okay, so? What is that, besides arbitrary opinion? If “God” defines “good”, then aside from being utterly circular, how do we know that this being’s idea of “good” is something that benefits us?

       IOW, Christians are in the same, exact, subjective “boat” that they claim Atheists are in.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      You can’t claim, “Strawman” without explaining why. You say it’s a distorted version, but you don’t offer any explanation why you think it’s distorted. Simplified? Perhaps. But distorted? No.

      Second, you say that a objective moral law can’t be found in the “Body of Christ,” a term which usually refers to (a) the actual body of Christ, or (b) the church organization, neither of which I claim this objective moral law comes from. But you do offer as an example one of the ten commandments, “Thou shalt not lie,” which is from the Word of God (not the Body of Christ). Your argument is a theological one, not a logical one. You ask, in essence, “How can Christians say, ‘Thou shalt not lie,’ when clearly, there are times when one should be allowed to lie.”

      Please flesh out this argument. What are the times when it would be morally RIGHT to lie? What is the basis for your claim that lying is acceptable?
      So, there are two things that I’d like from you: (1) offer a more complete version of the relativist’s view, since you believe that I’ve presented a “distorted” view; and (2) offer evidence that the Bible is wrong when it says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

      Thanks, boom.

      • Anonymous

        You can’t claim, “Strawman” without explaining why.

        Perhaps you haven’t had your morning coffee yet. I explained “why”. Scroll back up to the top post, read the BOLD in the quote, and then read where I said that I’m NOT making any “absolute claim” *about* a “Moral Law”.

        You say it’s a distorted version, but you don’t offer any explanation why you think it’s distorted. Simplified? Perhaps. But distorted? No.

        Okay, if makes understanding my argument easier, I’ll swap “distorted” with inaccurate. And no, “Simplified”, and inaccurate, are not mutually inclusive. IOW, the stab at the relativist’s argument made by the person in the quote, is wrong.

        Second, you say that a objective moral law can’t be found in the “Body of Christ,” a term which usually refers to (a) the actual body of Christ, or (b) the church organization, neither of which I claim this objective moral law comes from. But you do offer as an example one of the ten commandments, “Thou shalt not lie,” which is from the Word of God (not the Body of Christ). Your argument is a theological one, not a logical one. 

        Are you serious?….that’s the best you’ve got?..i.e…equivocation over some theological terms???

        Okay, fine. Restated, my position is this: There is no Universal, Absolute “Moral Law” found anywhere in Christianity. And yes, since Christians claim that there is such a “Moral Law” and that that is precisely where said “Law” is found, it then puts the onus of proving that claim squarely in their laps. That they haven’t proven that claim(and can’t) means that I am being logical when I say that there’s no credible reasons to believe it’s true until proven true. 

        Please flesh out this argument. What are the times when it would be morally RIGHT to lie? What is the basis for your claim that lying is acceptable?

        The basis for my claim? Simple:  sometimes lying prevents unnecessary harm to you and your fellow human beings. One such time? Sure. Say, I see a child running down my street and he is crying and has blood coming from his nose and bruises all over his body. Say, I do the compassionate thing and bring him in my house. Say, when I ask the child what happened, say, he says, “My dad has been drinking and he got mad and started punching me.” Say, twenty minutes later a drunk man knocks on my door and wants to know if I’ve seen his son. 

        As a moral, compassionate person, the right thing for me to do is to tell an out-right lie, telling that man that, no, I have NOT seen his son.  The right, moral thing to do would be to lie to that man and immediately call the police when he leaves.

        So, there are two things that I’d like from you: (1) offer a more complete version of the relativist’s view, since you believe that I’ve presented a “distorted” view; and (2) offer evidence that the Bible is wrong when it says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.

        1) My view, as an Atheist and relativist: Morals and ethics are situational, and demonstrably, so. Moreover, the moral objectivist who relies on “God” for morality is in the same subjective boat that I am, since, the views of “God” are based on nothing but himself/herself/itself, which is, a) subjective, and b) circular.

        2) (See analogy about beaten child, above)

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          You say, “the moral objectivist who relies on ‘God’ for morality is in the same subjective boat that he or she claims I am, since, the views of ‘God’ are based on nothing but himself/herself/itself, which is *subjective*.”
          Is your objection to the Christian objective morality is based upon your view that God doesn’t exist, and therefore the moral objectivist is getting their morals from himself/herself? Or that, because morality comes from God (a person), it’s no more valid than a morality that comes from other “people”?

          If the latter is the case, then your logic breaks down. Objective morality, by definition, comes from outside oneself, and is not subject to one’s own emotions, feelings, or opinions. If you say, “My morals are right because I say they are right,” that would be circular reasoning. However, objective morality means that there is something that is “outside” or “set apart” deciding objectively what is moral and what is not.

          You give an example of a circular statement as “God is good because God says so,” which really begs the question. God is either good, or he is not. In order to know whether God is good or not, you must know what is “good.” How do you know what is good? If there is an objective moral standard, then you can measure God against that standard. If God is the objective moral standard, then God is good.

          If you say, “I define what is good and evil,” and then you say, “Beating my
          child is good,” then as a moral relativist, you’ve defined child abuse as
          good. Morality is then subject to your emotions, opinion, feelings, will,
          etc.

          When you give the example of the abused child to attack the Christian moral
          standard, you are appealing to an objective moral standard, saying that
          everyone must believe that child abuse is bad. You’re appealing to some
          nebulous “higher” moral standard which everyone somehow believes. But, of
          course, this standard couldn’t be “objective morality.”

          • Anonymous

            Previously, me: “the moral objectivist who relies on ‘God’ for morality is in the same subjective boat that he or she claims I am, since, the views of ‘God’ are based on nothing but himself/herself/itself, which is *subjective*.”
             
            You respond: “Is your objection to the Christian objective morality is based upon your view that God doesn’t exist[….]”

            Certainly not, and you’d know this if you actually paid attention. 

            I reiterate—-I am granting, for sake of discussion, that the Christian biblegod exists.

            you continue: “[….] and therefore the moral objectivist is getting their morals from himself/herself?”

            Once more, the moral objectivist who claims to get his or her “Morality” from a god is merely swapping-out their own opinion for another individual’s opinion. 

            “Or that, because morality comes from God (a person), it’s no more valid than a morality that comes from other ‘people’?”

            I would say no more objective than what comes from other people.

            “If the latter is the case, then your logic breaks down.”

            It would only “break down” if I was arguing for an Objective, Universal, Absolute  Morality. I’m not. 

            “Objective morality, by definition, comes from outside oneself “

            Then this illustrates, with great clarity, that “Morality” cannot be intrinsic to “God”, which would subsequently mean that “God” makes judgments based on an external standard of “right”/”wrong”.

            You can’t have it both ways. If “God” DEFINES this (supposed) Objective  “good”, then true, said individual doesn’t need to look outside of his self/herself/itself to make judgments. However, if this is the case, then logic says that “good” is reduced to arbitrary opinion, because it is based on nothing at all except the individual giving the opinion, which is circular..e.g…

            God:  “I define good!” 

            Human: “Says who”?

            God: “Me!”

            Human: “How do I know your conception of good is something that actually benefits me, my family, and my race”?

            God: “Because I said so!”

            You continue….“If you say, ‘My morals are right because I say they are right’, that would be circular reasoning.”

            Right, see above.  The first difference is that we are talking the collective opinions of a group, compared to the one opinion of an individual.  The second difference is that the collective opinions of the  group are actually based on something..i.e..the avoidance of unnecessary harm, whereas, the opinion of the individual is based on whatever he/she/it is feeling at the time. The group certainly knows that if they don’t avoid harm, that could lead to extinction. If the group becomes extinct, then surely things like “good”/”bad” become meaningless.   

            “However, objective morality means that there is something that is ‘outside’ or ‘set apart’ deciding objectively what is moral and what is not.”

            Okay, fair enough. Taking that definition, then what does “God” point to “outside” or “apart” from himself when “deciding objectively what is moral and what is not”? ‘ Listening.

            “You give an example of a circular statement as “God is good because God says so,” which really begs the question.”

            Until you, the theist/moral objectivist, give a non-circular explanation for why the statement “God is good” is true, that is your default position, and thus, it is YOU who is begging the question; not me. 

             “God is either good, or he is not.”

            False dichotomy. Maybe “God” is good sometimes, and bad, other times(like you and me). If you meant Absolutely good, then yes, that would be binary.

            “In order to know whether God is good or not, you must know what is ‘good’.”

            Ahh. Thank you for underscoring my position, Robert. You have just gone on record to suggest that there an external conception of  “good” by which we must measure against “God” in order to, as you say, “know whether God is good or not”. You can’t use “God” to know whether or not “God” is “good” or not, because that is illogical(and silly). 

            You’ve just proven my point, well, unless you want to back-peddle and restate  the above(which I suspect that you will).

             If God is the objective moral standard, then God is good.”

            Both ridiculous and begging the question, based on this…….

            In order to know whether God is good or not, you must know what is ‘good’ ~ R. Ewoldt

            “If you say, ‘I define what is good and evil’,  and then you say, “Beating my child is good’,” then as a moral relativist, you’ve defined child abuse as good.”

            Except that I wouldn’t say “Beating my child is good”, because that would be incongruent with what I base my definition of “good”(vs “evil”) on. 

            Let’s review: I/we base ethics/morals on the AVOIDANCE OF UNNECESSARY HARM. It is demonstrably true that child abuse causes harm, and can even lead to death. I am being perfectly consistent. With your worldview, nothing would prevent “God” from actually deciding that beating children is the moral thing to do. In fact, “O” has given numerous examples of the despicable views of your “God” regarding children.  I’m curious to see who you’ll defend this, and let’s face it, we know you will, because the only other alternative is to admit you are wrong.

            “When you give the example of the abused child to attack the Christian moral standard, you are appealing to an objective moral standard, saying that everyone must believe that child abuse is bad.”

            False. I’m saying no such thing. People are perfectly free to believe that child abuse isn’t bad.

            “You’re appealing to some nebulous ‘higher’ moral standard which everyone somehow believes. “

            Hell, Pot? Meet kettle!

            “But, of course, this standard couldn’t be ‘objective morality”.”

            I’ll say it again, and please stick in your memory bank:

             I, an Atheist relativist, am NOT ARGUING FOR AN “objective morality”.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            boom, I say that you’re appealing to a nebulous higher standard that everyone somehow believes, and you say, “Pot, meet kettle.” So, you agree that you’re appealing to a higher standard of some kind that everyone believes (or should believe), which is exactly what I would describe as arguing to an objective moral standard, and then in the next breath you say, “But I’m a atheist relativist” who doesn’t believe in an objective standard.
            You are contradicting yourself.

          • Anonymous

            ” So, you agree that you’re appealing to a higher standard of some kind that everyone believes (or should believe),[…]”

            No, not “higher”, because that would suggest the there is some other standard beside our own. There isn’t. And no, I’m not saying that everyone “should believe” that the avoidance of harm is life-affirming and preserves life. However, if one believes the preservation of life is the priority, then they are being logically   consistent if they appeal to that standard.

            “[…]which is exactly what I would describe as arguing to an objective moral standard and then in the next breath you say, “But I’m a atheist relativist” who doesn’t believe in an objective standard. You are contradicting yourself”

            No, I am not contradicting myself, and I’ll say it again: I am NOT saying that “avoiding unnecessary harm” is an “objective standard”; I’m saying, for those who agree that existing is better than NOT existing, avoiding harm is the best, proven-to-work way to ensure this.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Boom, why would one say that existing is better than not existing? How can one make that statement?

          • Anonymous

            “Boom, why would one say that existing is better than not existing?”

            Gee, I don’t know, but I’ll take a WiLd guess—-perhaps because the person who says that has the mental capacity to contemplate what it would be like to not exist, and they instead prefer to exist? 

            “How can one make that statement?”

            They can say it, or type it, to name just a few ways. 

            Now, if you’re asking me how it would be objectively true, I haven’t said that it is. Here, again, is what I have said on the subject:

            I am NOT saying that “avoiding unnecessary harm” is an “objective standard”; I’m saying, for those who agree that existing is better than NOT existing, avoiding harm is the best, proven-to-work way to ensure this. ~ boomslang[bold added]

  • O!

    ***”If you say, “I define what is good and evil,” and then you say, “Beating my child is good,” then as a moral relativist, you’ve defined child abuse as good. Morality is then subject to your emotions, opinion, feelings, will, etc.”***

    Yeah – curious? Speaking of defining child abuse as good, your god is all for it.

    Proverbs 13:24 “He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”
    If you love him, beat him, with a stick — a lot.

    Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”

    Beat the foolishness out of a child; a child can’t possibly be foolish — beat, beat, beat!

    Proverbs 23:13-14 “Do not hold back discipline from the child, Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod And rescue his soul from Sheol.”

    He may have bruising, welts, cuts, broken bones, but he won’t die — keep beating him so he won’t go to the common grave of humankind.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah – it’s metaphor. God’s not really in favor of wacking a child with a stick.

    But that’s nonsense: it plainly condones hitting children with a stick.

    Why does Proverbs condone child abuse? If a child, in your church, walked in with welt marks and bruising from a rod, you would be obligated, by law, to contact children services. If your church abides by god’s morals and caned children, with a rod, as a form of punishment, your church and the ones responsible would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    I also love these particular morally ambiguous bits from scripture.

    Exodus 21:17 – “He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.”

    Deut. 21:18-21 “If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother … Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city … And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die.”

    Is this what your church does when a mom and dad haul in their gluttonous, stubborn, rebellious, drunkard son?

    And this leads me into this piece of vile scripture (below) that started the ball rolling into the path of apostasy and subsequent mental freedom.

    1Sam 15:3 “The Lord says, Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don’t have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies.”

    And spare me the mental gymnastics and pat apologetics – I’ve heard it all before.

    “The Amalekites were evil…….”
    “The children and babies were going to grow up to be evil……….”
    “The children are better off dead then to live with evil people who sacrifice them to false gods………….”

    So, your all-loving, god created these children and babies, knowing they would be abused and suffer egregiously, with evil people, some of them being burned alive, in heinous sacrificial offerings, but still chose to put these innocent children and babies in these vile, unimaginable situations anyway?And god’s only solution to the problem was to rescind his commandment of thou shall not kill, thereby sending in a barbaric army of men, to destroy everyone, including, pregnant women and innocent children and babies, showing them no pity, using the primitive weapons of the day — cutting throats, chopping off heads, plunging swords into bellies, bludgeoning and eviscerating, causing mass suffering.

    Why would your all-loving, god create and send these children into these horrific situations, in the first place?And why would a god — who could simply wish the universe into existence — not just simply wave his hand and make these children disappear into his awaiting arms, forgoing all the immense pain and mass suffering?

    Whooooops – looks like I opened a can of moral worms where you have to salvage your god’s despicable actions and tell us why it is objective.

    • Anonymous

      OuCh!!!!

      • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

        It’s easy to be angry; it’s harder to be logical.  See my reply below.

        • Anonymous

          I may or may not be “angry” that I wasted 2/3rds of my life believing a book full of nonsense and that I had a “relationship” with an invisible man. Either way, that doesn’t preclude me from being logical. I would say it’s harder to be logical when one is defending nonsense, especially, nonsense that is demonstrably false.

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      O!, you make me laugh.

      It seems you have a twisted view of child abuse, or at least a militantly anti-Christian view.  For a comprehensive look at what constitutes child abuse, please see http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/define.pdf.

      The federal definition of child abuse is, “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”

      Almost all or all of the state definitions of child abuse allow for the physical punishment of a child, or the “discipline” that the Bible is talking about.  So, even in a secular, non-Christian sense, the physical punishment of a child is not considered “child abuse,” but “discipline.”  So, when you say that if our church disciplined children with a rod (or our members did), then we would be prosecuted to the “fullest extent of the law,” the fullest extent of the law in this case is on the church’s side, not on yours.

      If you would like to provide a positive argument for not participating in physical discipline of a child (instead of a purely anti-Christian argument), I would be willing to hear it.

      To your larger argument against God…

      1. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not murder,” not “Thou shalt not kill,” if you want to be technical about it.  Most people take this to mean that there are times when killing is justified.  Murder is the taking of life for no reason, with no justification; killing is the taking of life with justification.  You may not draw a distinction, but most people do, and apparently God does, too.  The law in our country makes a distinction as well.

      2. You do realize that, according to the Bible, God will judge people, and send them to hell, right?  The Bible says that God sets the standard, and those who do not meet the standard will be sentenced to eternal judgment, eternal death, eternal torment, etc (however you want to describe it).

      3. Re: Deut 21 – it seems like the process described here is what happens today.  Scenario: the parents have an evil son (vs. 21).  He is an alcoholic, stubborn and rebellious, which has probably led to other things, and he won’t listen to them when they ask him to get help, or to turn himself in voluntarily, so they take him to the city authorities (not the church elders, mind you), and turn him in for punishment.  Can you not imagine a scenario today in which distraught parents would turn in their own son to the authorities, knowing that he would get the death penalty?  Of course you can.  An alcoholic man in a rage against his wife is driving home from a bar, and intentionally strikes and kills two people on his way home, and then shoots and kills his wife and children.  His parents turn him in, and he’s sentenced to death for his actions.

      4. “Why would your all-loving, god create and send these children into these horrific situations, in the first place? [sic]” – This is a classic situation of wanting God to be what we want him to be.  The answer can be found in Romans 9:21-23–“and He did so in order that He might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.”

      5. Lastly, you call our God “despicable,” and your argument that he’s despicable is based upon the affirmation of the following statements:

      a. God should not kill anyone.
      b. God should not judge anyone.
      c. God should not tolerate evil in the world.

      All of these statements are saying that God should be different than what he is (making God into your own version of god), and are based on what you think should be the moral standard.  Where are you getting your moral standard?  Are you relying on an objective moral standard, or are these rules coming from somewhere inside you?

      • Anonymous

        “Murder is the taking of life for no reason, with no justification; killing is the taking of life with justification”

        And since you are a “True Christian” we can then safely conclude that when the hot-head biblegod you worship decided to – save Captain Noah and his inbreeding brood – DROWN the entire human race, and he did this because said human race disappointed his highness, that you then believe that this KILLING was “Moral” and “justified”, right? Yes or no, please.

        If you answer “yes” to that simple, multiple choice question, then here is my next question: 

        If  we presumably get our conception of “Morality” from your bible and its “God”(as you insist), then why the &$#* can’t we DROWN people when/if they disappoint us? Please show some consistency. If drowning human beings is, in certain instances, “Moral” and “just” according your “Source”, and yet, we are supposed to know the difference between “Moral” and “immoral” based on that SAME “Source”, then there shouldn’t be ANY double-standard there. But alas, I suspect there is, and we’ll find out if you answer the question(preferably without equivocation) 

        “2. You do realize that, according to the Bible, God will judge people, and send them to hell, right?”

        Yes, yes, Robert….”according to the bible”. Uh-huh. Welp, “according to the bible”  snakes and vegetation speak Hebrew and bird’s blood heals leprosy. Good stuff. But okay, your biblegod is going to roast all non-christians in “hell”. Fine. Help me out—what does that actually accomplish, in a remedial sense, since “punishment”, BY DEFINITION, is supposed to be remedial? I’m really curious about this.  I am UNABLE to honestly believe that the book you so proudly carry under your arm is written by a “God”, and for this shortcoming, I’m going to burned with fire for all of eternity. So?

        ” The Bible says that God sets the standard, and those who do not meet the standard will be sentenced to eternal judgment, eternal death, eternal torment, etc.”

        And once more, if “God sets the standard”, and we are to follow that standard, then why can’t we(we don’t we) base our own judicial system on that same standard? Why don’t we line juvenile delinquents up and throw rocks at them, huh? Why don’t we DROWN those on death row, instead of the more humane, lethal injection? Well? When children make fun of adults, why don’t take ’em to the zoo and let some she-bears maul them, huh? ‘Care to explain the glaring double-standard, Bob?

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          (just taking the first few definitions from Google)
          Remedial (definition): intended to rectify or improve; tending to cure or restore to health.
          Punishment (definition): the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense; the penalty inflicted.
           
          So, punishment is NOT (by definition) remedial.  Only in YOUR definition is punishment remedial.
           
          Secondly, here’s your argument:
           
          If someone doesn’t meet God’s standard, then he can punish them (even with drowning).
          Therefore, if someone doesn’t meet our standard, then we can punish them (even with drowning).
           
          Let me use your words:
          The world disappointed God, so he drowned everyone.
          If someone disappoints us, then we should be allowed to drown them.
           
          This is the most illogical thing I’ve heard today.  Your second statement does NOT logically follow from your first statement.  You’re talking about two very different standards (what disappoints God vs. what disappoints us).  PERHAPS you could say, “If someone disappoints God, then we should be allowed to drown them,” though you still wouldn’t be dealing with who has the authority to inflict a punishment.

          • Anonymous

            “(just taking the first few definitions from Google) Remedial (definition): intended to rectify or improve; tending to cure or restore to health. Punishment (definition): the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense; the penalty inflicted.
             
            So, punishment is NOT (by definition) remedial.  Only in YOUR definition is punishment remedial.”

            This is true. By definition,  a “punishment” mustn’t necessarily be “remedial”. 

            Let the record show that I am admitting my error here, as I would much rather admit my errors than defend them in perpetuity…::cough::

            In any case, while the two  concepts aren’t mutually inclusive, they aren’t mutually exclusive, either. When/if  a parent spanks a child, while, yes,  the point is to inflict pain as a “penalty” for an offense, it is also to “rectify or improve” the behavior of the child. No sane parent spanks a child for pain’s sake. 

            With that out of the way, I notice that you didn’t address the pertinent question that followed.

            Here it is again: 

            “I am UNABLE to honestly believe that the book you so proudly carry under your arm is written by a ‘God’, and for this ‘shortcoming'(‘sin’), I’m going to be burned with fire for all of eternity. Okay, so?”

            Well? 

            “Secondly, here’s your argument:

            If someone doesn’t meet God’s standard, then he can punish them (even with drowning).
            Therefore, if someone doesn’t meet our standard, then we can punish them (even with drowning).”

            Actually, no, the latter is not my “argument”.  

            By asking why we can’t(why we don’t) punish people according to your biblegod’s standard of “right” and “wrong”, I am making a rhetorical point.  If it is “just” and deserving that we humans should be DROWNED for doing something “wrong”, then why isn’t “just” and deserving for us to drown people when people do something “wrong”? Are you saying there is an “objective”..i.e..applicable-in-EVERY-situation, “right and wrong”, or aren’t yOU? Is the judicial system of “God” something that is “objective”..i.e.. applicable-in-EVERY-situatution, or isn’t it? If so, then it would be “just” for us to drown people for doing what “God” deems “wrong”.  That is, unless you are appealing to authority..i.e…”God can punish people how he pleases, because, well, because He is God!”

            Let me use your words:
            The world disappointed God, so he drowned everyone.If someone disappoints us, then we should be allowed to drown them.”

            Actually, no, those aren’t my words.  If you want to paraphrase what you think my argument is, fine, but don’t call it my words. 

            “This is the most illogical thing I’ve heard today.”

            You’re the guy who believes snakes, donkeys, and vegetation speak the human language, so I’m not sure how badly I should feel that you think I’m being “illogical”.

             “You’re talking about two very different standards[….]”

            In other words,  NOT a Universal, Absolute, Objective standard. 

            “PERHAPS you could say, ‘If someone disappoints God, then we should be allowed to drown them'[…]”

            Or, perhaps I can say BOTH. In fact, if believers are instructed to “follow the LORD”(and they are), then it would make perfect sense that believers would be disappointed by the same things that disappoint their fearless leader. You know, the one who defines “Objective Truth” and the one around whom we are to model our behaviors.   

            “[…]though you still wouldn’t be dealing with who has the authority to inflict a punishment.”[italics added]

            Oh, I see. Okay, thank you for patently showing that your entire argument is an appeal to Authoritarianism. Yes, uh-huh…..God can inflict whatever punishments he pleases, however disproportionate; however inhumane, because why? Because god is GOD!!!

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            boom,

            My point is that you’re talking about two different standards:

            1. God’s standard – objective moral standard (from our perspective), because it’s outside of us.
            2. Human standards – subjective moral standards, which are unique to each person.

            God’s standard is based upon his character, which doesn’t change. God doesn’t set the standard for God; God is the standard.

            From a human perspective, God’s standard is objective, because it’s outside of ourselves. You’re trying to say that God’s standard is subjective, but I think you’re a little unclear about what the word “objective” means.

            Take, for instance, an objective test. There is one answer to each question, which is set by an outside body (either the testing company, or the teacher). The students take the test, and either get the question right or wrong. From the student’s perspective, the test is objective. From the teacher’s perspective, they grade to the right answer. The answers don’t change.

            Similarly, God makes the “answers” to each question of morality. From a
            human perspective, we are either “right” or “wrong” when compared to that
            “answer.” This is the essence of objectivity. You can tell the teacher,
            “No, that’s not the answer. My answer ought to be right,” but your
            ignorance (and your pleading) doesn’t change the right answer.

          • Anonymous

            “My point is that you’re talking about two different standards:”

            Yes, I know perfectly well that you mean “two different standards”…AKA…a double-standard. The one standard – the Objective, true-in-EVERY-situation standard – is the one we are to follow. Yet, the being who sets that standard doesn’t have to follow it. Absurd.
             
            “1. God’s standard – objective moral standard (from our perspective), because it’s outside of us.”

            Let’s review: On the subject of  objective morality, this is what you said previously…

            “However, objective morality means that there is something that is ‘outside’ or ‘set apart’ deciding objectively what is moral and what is not.”  ~ R. Ewoldt

            Do you by chance remember what I said in response to this statement? 

            Here it is again: “Taking that definition, then what does ‘God’ point to ‘outside’ or ‘apart’ from himself when ‘deciding objectively what is moral and what is not’? ‘Listening.”

            And I’m still listening.

            “2. Human standards – subjective moral standards, which are unique to each person.”

            Yes, and accordingly, the “moral standard” of a god would be unique to him/her, so you’ve proven nothing at all by that “distinction”.

            “God’s standard is based upon his character, which doesn’t change. God doesn’t set the standard for God; God is the standard.”

            And again, a) circular argument(logical fallacy), and b) we’d have no evidence that “God”, as a “standard”, is actually something “good”. In fact, this is how you recommend we find out… 

            “In order to know whether God is good or not, you must know what is ‘good’.”~ R. Ewoldt

            You clearly just shot yourself in the foot. Now, ‘ do the right thing and admit your error?

          • Anonymous

            Young Robert,

            “God’s standard is based upon his character, which doesn’t change. God doesn’t set the standard for God; God is the standard.”

            Do you realize how much amusement you are providing us with this series of articles you are writing?  You titled this article: ‘Cross Examination: Is There a Moral Law?’ as if you are actually exploring the subject.  Then, when boom challenges you on this topic, you make a definitive statement that God is the standard for moral law.  Gee, I thought the PURPOSE of this series of articles was to examine your faith, yet you conduct yourself as a devout apologist and dig in your heels every single time boom or I challenge your firmly established set of views.  Your knee-jerk reactions are as predictable as poking a stick at a snake.

            Young Robert, your series of articles are a complete charade.  However, I thank you for the continuing source of amusement.

          • Anonymous

            “You titled this article: ‘Cross Examination: Is There a Moral Law?’ as if you are actually exploring the subject.” ~ Sid

            You nailed it. Mr. Ewoldt, while claiming to be conducting a “Cross Examination”, is actually taking a doctrinal, ideological position. That is, he has determined, a priori, that his “faith” is true, so the only thing left to do is defend it, even if it means being dishonest with both himself, and his Atheist readership.  You’ll find the same dogmatic approach at AiG. As part of their mission statement, they say…..

             By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record.

            ~ Answers in Genesis.

          • Anonymous

            Yes!

            I would say the same thing about the Institute for Creation Research as with AiG.  They claim to employ scientists who search for evidence to understand the science of origins and earth history, yet they go on to boldly claim that they believe the universe was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator.  Therefore, any evidence that appears not to support their belief in a Creator is subsequently attacked.  That is their version of “science”.

            http://www.icr.org/

            http://www.icr.org/tenets/

            “The physical universe of space, time, matter, and energy has not always existed, but was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator who alone has existed from eternity.”

            ~ Institute for Creation Research.

          • Anonymous

            Yes!

            I would say the same thing about the Institute for Creation Research as with AiG.  They claim to employ scientists who search for evidence to understand the science of origins and earth history, yet they go on to boldly claim that they believe the universe was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator.  Therefore, any evidence that appears not to support their belief in a Creator is subsequently attacked.  That is their version of “science”.

            http://www.icr.org/

            http://www.icr.org/tenets/

            “The physical universe of space, time, matter, and energy has not always existed, but was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator who alone has existed from eternity.”

            ~ Institute for Creation Research.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            So this Institute for Creation Research is bad, and their “science” is ridiculous, because they question evidence that doesn’t support their hypothesis (that the universe was created)?

            Or is every institution (and person) who questions a basic tenet of your worldview, by definition, a kook?

          • Anonymous

            “Or is every institution (and person) who questions a basic tenet of your worldview, by definition, a kook?”

            What’s this?….questioning tenets of my “worldview”? My worldview is Naturalism.  Why would anyone question what clearly exists..i.e..nature? But to answer your question, no, I don’t believe every person or institution that advocates the existence of invisible, conscious beings are “kooks”. No, I just believe they compartmentalize their kooky beliefs.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            The question was not whether you believe all Christians are kooks.  The question was do you believe that the people who question your “evidence” to be kooks, which you clearly do.

            You say that ICR is bad because they presuppose the Bible is true and accurate, and shoot down anything that contradicts it.

            You do the same thing… you presuppose that the universe was not created, but somehow naturally occurred, and you shoot down anything that contradicts this worldview.  Even scientifically proven, contradicting evidence.

          • Anonymous

            “You do the same thing… you presuppose that the universe was not created, but somehow naturally occurred, and you shoot down anything that contradicts this worldview. Even
            scientifically proven, contradicting evidence.”

            This message was addressed to boom, but I will add a reply…

            This statement by Young Robert is pure hogwash. I, for one, first considered claims made by Christians and later considered claims made by non-Christians within the broad scientific community re. the origins of the universe. I personally concluded that the natural evolution of the universe seems more probable (and believable) to me than the claim that a loving “God” willed it into existence.

          • Anonymous

            “The question was not whether you believe all Christians are kooks.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            Right, hence why my answer wasn’t, “all Christians are kooks”, but that people who believe in invisible beings have “kooky beliefs“. People can have kooky beliefs, but not be “kooks”, because compartmentalization allows and facilitates this. You compartmentalize your beliefs. 

            “The question was do you believe that the people who question your ‘evidence’ to be kooks, which you clearly do.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            I don’t think people are “kooks” for questioning my evidence against their kooky beliefs, but I am weary of theists who want me to accept what they propose, on flimsy (or no) evidence, while they dismiss other theists who have similar evidence.   

            “You say that ICR is bad because they presuppose the Bible is true and accurate, and shoot down anything that contradicts it. You do the same thing[…]”

            Tu Quoque(fallacy)
             
            “[….]you presuppose that the universe was not created[…]”

            False. I ask for evidence from those making the positive claim that the universe was “created”. That it exists is not evidence that it was “created”.

            “[…]but somehow naturally occurred[…]”

            Because we have plenty of evidence that all sorts of things “naturally occured”. I pine cone fell from me pine tree. Did an invisible, super-duper being lower the pine cone to the ground? Or did it simply occur, naturally? Hmmm…

            “[…]and you shoot down anything that contradicts this worldview.”

            Existence exists. First Principle. Nature exists. Proven. That super-duper nature is responsible for nature isn’t my claim; it’s yours. The burden of proof is on you to prove it.  

            “Even scientifically proven, contradicting evidence.”

            For example?

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            For example, you shoot down Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which is weighty evidence that the universe had a creator.  In order to shoot down said theory, which has great scientific evidence to back it up, you have to create a new theory, which has no scientific evidence behind it.

          • Anonymous

            “For example, you shoot down Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which is weighty evidence that the universe had a creator.”

            I’m sorry, but even if I concede that this is “weighty evidence”, that doesn’t constitute a scientific PROOF. If it were “scientifically proven” that the universe had a “creator”, you would be able to direct me to the place where scientists are conducting research that TESTS(or falsifies) said hypothesis. Can you direct me to such a place?

             ‘Didn’t think so.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Are you saying that Einstein’s theory of general relativity is no longer being tested?

            As recent as May 7 of this year, it was being reported that scientists are still testing the theory: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/may/07/scientists-prove-einstein-right

            Here’s another link from 2010: http://www.space.com/8024-einstein-general-relativity-confirmed.html

            Here’s a Wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tests_of_general_relativity

            No, I guess you’re talking about the implications of the theory.  Yes, you will concede, the universe is expanding.  Yes, you may concede, the universe had a beginning.  But, of course, you will not concede that, since the universe had a beginning, that the universe therefore had a Beginner.  No, because that would go against your presupposition that there is no God.

            And then you prove my point, which was you shoot evidence down when it doesn’t support your worldview… one that has no God.

          • Anonymous

            “But, of course, you will not concede that, since the universe had a beginning, that the universe therefore had a Beginner. No, because that would go against your presupposition that there is no God.”

            pre·sup·pose   
            verb (used with object), -posed, -pos·ing.
            1.  to suppose or assume beforehand; take for granted in advance.

            Young Robert, we did not originally presuppose that God did not exist.  We, in fact, once fervently believed God did exist when we first became practicing Christians.  We believed God did exist BEFORE we later considered views that challenged our established beliefs.  It was ONLY then that we decided we no longer believed God exists.  Please get this through your thick skull.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            So, we’re down to arguing over when a presupposition was made, and calling names?

          • Anonymous

            I will lay it out for you:

            1.  We once believed much of what you currently claim to believe.  We believed it based largely upon faith rather than our being presented with what we now consider to be convincing evidence. 

            2.  We later considered alternate viewpoints based upon what we believed to be more convincing evidence.  Our original viewpoints were transformed.  

            3.  Until you can present us with even more convincing evidence that our current viewpoints are wrong, we will not believe what you currently claim to believe.  

            I did not call you a name.  I was referring to your behavior as being consistently thick.  I think it is an appropriate characterization of your demonstrated behavior here.

          • Anonymous

            I never once used the word “bad” or “ridiculous” or ” kook” to characterize the ICR.  I am shocked that you would attempt to attribute those harsh characterizations of the ICR to me.

            The ICR is dogmatic.  They do not follow the scientific method.  They do not collect data and draw conclusions in an objective and unbiased manner.   Their objective is to collect data in an attempt to demonstrate something that they already believed to be true based upon their faith. They presuppose the Bible is true, and they attempt to strike down evidence that contradicts its claims.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Anyone can claim anything.  The question is whether or not they can prove it.  A hypothesis is one thing; proof is another.  Someone could claim that the earth is flat.  That doesn’t mean that they can prove it.

            AiG can claim that nothing can contradict the scriptural record; that doesn’t make that statement true.  That’s their hypothesis.

          • Anonymous

            Responding here….

            “Are you saying that Einstein’s theory of general relativity is no longer being tested?”NO, I’m not saying that, and you know d*mned -well that I’m not saying that. Here, again, is what I said:If it were “scientifically proven” that the universe had a “creator”, you would be able to direct me to the place where scientists are conducting research that TESTS(or falsifies) said hypothesis. ~ meI reiterate—if it were “scientifically proven” that the universe was “created” by an invisible, conscious being who lives in the cosmos, this hypothesis would, a) would be a bonafide scientific theory(it’s not), and b) it would be testable/falsifiable. This is why asked you where tests are currently being conducted on creation. But alas, there AREN’T any such tests being conducted, and there’s a good reason for that.“Yes, you will concede, the universe is expanding.  Yes, you may concede, the universe had a beginning.”Why did you go from “will concede” to “may concede”? Is the implication that there is evidence for one, and not the other? **To suggest that there was “nothing” before the “Big Bang” has its holes, after all. To suggest that there was a TIME when time didn’t exist, is nonsensical, after all. To suggest that a “timeless” being contemplated and “designed” something, is contradictory, after all, because we know that those activity’s are time-DEPENDENT. Who’s to say that he or she knows, *absolutely*, that the universe hasn’t always existed in one form or another??? Answer: No one. “But, of course, you will not concede that, since the universe had a beginning, that the universe therefore had a Beginner.”Right, because it only creates more problems than it solves(see above, here**). Here’s another….If things like existence and complexity require a “Beginner”, then surely the “Beginner” of the universe, if one exists, is more complex that what it “creates”.  So, who (or what) is the creator’s “Beginner”?  If the highly complex “creator” can be self-existent and doesn’t require a “Beginner”, then surely the much less complex universe can be self-existent and needn’t require a “Beginner”, either.Your argument amounts to special pleading. Moreover,  this whole  idea that the universe had a “Beginner”, which you base on some other scientific theory,  is still an inductive argument at the end of the day. “God” is NOT “scientifically proven”. You are  grasping at straws.And then there’s this…..“So, we’re down to arguing over when a presupposition was made, and calling names?” ~ R. EwoldtFirstly, your all-loving biblegod calls people “fools”.Secondly, and more importantly, Sid is trying to show you that we haven’t “presupposed” that “God doesn’t exist”, simply because, PRIOR to exploring the evidence more indepthly, we BELIEVED that “God” existed. The “PRE” suffix on “suppose” actually means something, so yes, the “when” is actually relevant. 

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Your worldview presupposes that God does not exist.  You may have held other beliefs in the past, but you currently hold to a worldview that presupposes certain things.  And, as you’ve proven in this discussion, you are intent upon defending those presuppositions, whatever the cost.

          • Anonymous

            “Your worldview presupposes that God does not exist.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            Once again, you are wrong,  and you continue to show your readership, over and over and over again, that you are a horrible reader, or that you’re dishonest, or possibly a little of both. 

            Please try really hard to let this penetrate your cranium, once and for all:

            The Atheist, or A-theist(i.e..not having Theism) worldview, is NOT proclaiming, “God does not exist!!!!”. It is a LACK. OF. BELIEF in “God”/gods.  Since my arrival, I’ve explained this to you at least a dozen times. 

            Secondly, the “pre” prefix on the word “presuppose”,  by DEFINITION, means prior/in advance. Google away, pal.

            Thus, here’s the second thing I wished you would get through your head:  At FIRST, I presupposed that “God” DID exist, because I was handed the family belief-system..i.e..”Christianity”(just like you were likely handed what you believe). The difference is, I examined what I was told to believe a little closer, and in a nutshell, I CHANGED. MY. MIND.

            In conclusion, the fact that I believed in “God”, prior to NOT believing in “God”, precludes me from a list of people who  “presuppose that God doesn’t exist”. ‘Get it?

            “[…] you currently hold to a worldview that presupposes certain things.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            And a worldview that “God does not exist!!!” is NOT one of those things. 

            “[…] as you’ve proven in this discussion, you are intent upon defending those presuppositions, whatever the cost.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            If I have “presuppositions” other than the one that I have clearly demonstrated that I lack, feel free to list them.  I’m happy to prove you wrong daily. If nothing else, someone with honest doubt might be looking in on the conversation, and he or she can be the judge of who’s worldview is more consistent, both logically, and philosophically.

          • Anonymous

            boomSLANG,

            I don’t think you or anyone else could possibly make these points any clearer to Young Robert.  It astonishes me that he continues to belabor these points.

          • Anonymous

            Agreed. He is like the child who puts his or her fingers in his or her ears and squawks, “blah, blah, blah, neener, neener, neener! …..I cant hear you!!” when being told something they don’t want to hear. Of course, this is pretty much all he can do short of admitting that he may be wrong, which, we both know he will never do. Sad.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I switched deliberately from will concede to may concede not because there’s any less evidence for the second statement, but because your concession of the second statement goes contrary to your worldview, which is something that you will not do.

            The evidence points to the universe having a beginning, but your worldview says that the universe cannot have had a beginning.  Therefore, you reject the evidence…. as I said that you would.  You reject the evidence, because it leads to a conclusion that you do not want to admit.

          • Anonymous

            “I switched deliberately from will concede to may concedenot because there’s any less evidence for the second statement, but because your concession of the second statement goes contrary to your worldview, which is something that you will not do.” ~ R. Ewoldt
            False. Show me that your initial claim is demonstrably true(using the scientific method; NOT a “hunch”, or inductive reasoning), and I will happily change my mind. I’ve done it once, I’ll do it again.

            You continue….

            “The evidence points to the universe having a beginning, but your worldview says that the universe cannot have had a beginning. Therefore, you reject the evidence…. as I said that you would.  You reject the evidence, because it leads to a conclusion that you do not want to admit.”

            NO—my “worldview” says that I don’t believe in “God”/gods.  The universe may or may not have a “beginning”. Even if it did, it would be dishonest of me to assume, a la Robert Ewoldt, that is was created by an invisible, conscious “Beginner”, as opposed to something natural. Non-sequitur, 1.  The universe having a “Beginner” suffers from all of the problems I just got done mentioning in a recent post.  

            Moreover, even if it were “scientifically proven”(as you erroneously, and dishonestly assert) that the Universe was created by an invisible, disembodied, “mind”, that is not conclusive evidence that said being is none other than “Yahweh” and his is undead, invisible offspring, “Jesus”. 

          • Anonymous

            “The evidence points to the universe having a beginning, but your worldview says that the universe cannot have had a beginning. Therefore, you reject the evidence…. as I said that you would.”

            I do not recall boomSLANG or I ever declaring that the universe must not have had a beginning.  We don’t know if it had a beginning or not.  If it did have a beginning, we do not have sufficient evidence to believe that YOUR God created it.  

            “You reject the evidence, because it leads to a conclusion that you do not want to admit.”

            What conclusion is that?  Is it that YOUR God created the universe?

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            How is that, every time I provide answers to objections raised, you come back with, “Oh, this isn’t a Cross Examination.  He’s just an apologist.  He’s just defending the same old indefensible dogma.”

            If something is true, it’s true.  If something’s not true, it’s not true.  You (and others) make arguments against a moral law, while in the process, appealing to a moral law.  This goes against the Law of Non-contradiction.

          • Anonymous

            “How is that, every time I provide answers to objections raised, you come back with, ‘Oh, this isn’t a Cross Examination.  He’s just an apologist.  He’s just defending the same old indefensible dogma’.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            And I reiterate—-if you want to paraphrase me, fine, feel free. But please don’t make it seem as though you are quoting me, with either, a) quotations, or b) by saying these are your words[and then paraphrasing me]. Thanks.

            Now, on to answering your question:  The reason I don’t for one minute believe that you are cross examining anything is because you have not once led me to believe that you have any doubts about your “faith”. You post “pros and cons” on various subjects, sure, but that is not necessarily because you have doubts. No. 

            Here’s what I believe is more likely going on: You came to an EX-christian website. You posted objections about how the site’s members dismissed the Christian worldview for “emotional reasons”. You had your a$$ handed to you on a silver platter, in response. To save face and to appear as an honest ‘truth-seeker’, you then scurried back to your blog and came up with whole “Cross-Examination” rigmarole. It becomes glaringly obvious that you aren’t interested in “truth”, when both Sid and I have proven certain tenets of your dearly-held doctrine to be contradictory..i.e..false. For just one example – and since you like “Googling” definitions – let’s revisit the philosophical dilemma of a personal being having both “omniscience” and “omnipotence”:

            omniscient:  1.  having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.

            omnipotent: 1 having unlimited or universal power, authority, or force; all-powerful.

            By, yes, DEFINITION, if “God” is “omniscient”, then he/she/it knows everything, including ALL of his/her/its future choices. Therefore, this precludes “God” from being a free agent. If this moment, “God” knows for absolute certain all of the ultimate, future choices he/she/it will make, then his/her/its “hands are tied”, so-to-speak. To change his/her/its mind between this minute and the future would directly refute the idea that “God” knew its ultimate choice to begin with. 

            Now, ‘care to get honest and concede this point?

            “If something is true, it’s true.  If something’s not true, it’s not true.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            And yet, you also say….

            Anyone can claim anything.  The question is whether or not they can prove it.

            So, if someone makes a positive claim, they ought to be able to prove it(according to you). Okay, where is your non-circular  “proof” for the existence of invisible, conscious, creator-beings? 

            “You (and others) make arguments against a moral law, while in the process, appealing to a moral law.  This goes against the Law of Non-contradiction.” ~ R. Ewoldt

            This rendition is incomplete. You know damned-well that the “moral law” for which you arguing differs drastically from the “moral law” that I propose. Dishonesty by omission. The “moral law” that I propose is subjective(since ethics are situational), while the “moral law” that you propose is (supposedly) “Absolute”, while the only “evidence” you offer to support this is circular, an appeal to authoritarianism, and special pleading.

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          (just taking the first few definitions from Google)
          Remedial (definition): intended to rectify or improve; tending to cure or restore to health.
          Punishment (definition): the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense; the penalty inflicted.

          So, punishment is NOT (by definition) remedial. Only in YOUR definition is punishment remedial.

          Secondly, here’s your argument:

          If someone doesn’t meet God’s standard, then he can punish them (even with drowning).
          Therefore, if someone doesn’t meet our standard, then we can punish them (even with drowning).

          Let me use your words:
          The world disappointed God, so he drowned everyone.
          If someone disappoints us, then we should be allowed to drown them.

          This is the most illogical thing I’ve heard today. Your second statement does NOT logically follow from your first statement. You’re talking about two very different standards (what disappoints God vs. what disappoints us). PERHAPS you could say, “If someone disappoints God, then we should be
          allowed to drown them,” though you still wouldn’t be dealing with who has
          the authority to inflict a punishment.

      • Anonymous

        “5. Lastly, you call our God ‘despicable'[…]”

        Hopefully when you say, “our God”, you mean Christian’s god, because it certainly isn’t anything I’d ever claim. 

        “[…]you and your argument that he’s despicable is based upon the affirmation of the following statements: 

        a. God should not kill anyone.
        b. God should not judge anyone.
        c. God should not tolerate evil in the world.”

        As for “a”, I’m not saying that your “God” shouldn’t kill anyone. Out which orifice did you pull that? If a child molester is about to sodomize a little boy(or girl), your “God” could, and should, stop the assaulter. Perhaps cause him to have a heart attack and drop dead. But does he? No, Mr “Omnipotent” is content standing by watching the whole thing go down because he doesn’t want to interfere with the molester’s “freewill”. Nice.

        As for b”, I’m not saying your “God” shouldn’t judge anyone; I’m saying, it shouldn’t judge someone for something that they have no control over, namely, being born with a nature they did NOT choose.

        As for “c”, since your “God” does tolerate “evil”, it must not be against it, too, too much. In fact, I’d say creating “evil” is a pretty good indicator that the creator doesn’t mind it too much.

        “All of these statements are saying that God should be different than what he is (making God into your own version of god)”

        No, not making “God” into anything, but simply asking for its attributes, characteristics, and principles to be logically consistent with one another.  They aren’t.  

        “Where are you getting your moral standard?”

        The same place you are—HUMANITY.

        • Anonymous

          “Where are you getting your moral standard?”

          The same place you are—HUMANITY.
          ————————————————

          Well spoken.  

          All one needs to do here is examine the similarities AND differences in sets of codified laws and regulations in cities and towns and states and nations around the world.  Laws and regulations were codified and amended as the populaces deemed fit and necessary over time.  The same sort of reasoning also helps explain why there have been so many different world religions and so many different denominations within the Christian faith.  Humanity is the source, and humanity tailored the content as it deemed fit and necessary.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.  

      • O!

        Robert,
        You’d make me laugh too if it wasn’t so tragic.
        ***The federal definition of child abuse is, “Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.”
        Almost all or all of the state definitions of child abuse allow for the physical punishment of a child, or the “discipline” that the Bible is talking about. ***
        Ha! Silly Christian, I too, use the federal reference link you provided for all of my past debates on the subject.
        You forgot to scroll down for the definition of physical abuse………………..
        Definition of physical abuse from: http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/define.pdf
        Physical abuse is generally defined as “any nonaccidental physical injury to the child” and can include striking, kicking, burning, or biting the child, or any action that results in a physical impairment of the child.
         
        Striking? Non accidental? Physical impairment?
         
        Point blank — Do you or do you not strike children, with a rod, as a form of discipline in your church/school? Again, if children from your church/school came home with welts caused by you STRIKING them DILIGENTLY with a rod, would that not be the very definition of child abuse and wouldn’t the abusive individual be removed from their position and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law?
         
        ***1.Murder is the taking of life for no reason, with no justification; killing is the taking of life with justification. ***

        First and foremost (please absorb this) I am NOT making an argument about killing or murdering. My argument is a bit more nuanced. I’ll grant you that this supposed creator can maketh a life and taketh a life, but being a moral all loving god why does he have to command or cause the SUFFERING of babies and children? What possible analogy (in reality; right here on earth) could you present that would show genocide and infanticide (where babies and children egregiously SUFFER while being slaughtered) as a moral action? What justification is there to brutally dispatch a child or a baby?
        ***2.…according to the Bible, God will judge people, and send them to hell, right?***
        Children and babies too?
        ***3. Re: Deut 21 – it seems like the process described here is what happens today.  Scenario: the parents have an evil son (vs. 21).  He is an alcoholic, stubborn and rebellious, which has probably led to other things, and he won’t listen to them when they ask him to get help, or to turn himself in voluntarily, so they take him to the city authorities (not the church elders, mind you), and turn him in for punishment.  Can you not imagine a scenario today in which distraught parents would turn in their own son to the authorities, knowing that he would get the death penalty?  Of course you can.  An alcoholic man in a rage against his wife is driving home from a bar, and intentionally strikes and kills two people on his way home, and then shoots and kills his wife and children.  His parents turn him in, and he’s sentenced to death for his actions.***
        You do realize, of course, that in Deut 21 the child is stoned to death for being alcoholic, stubborn and rebellious and not for intentionally striking and killing two people on his way home from a bar, and/or for shooting and killing his wife and children?
        Would you care to try again?
        And we as a “moral people” have tried (and moved toward) to be more humane (moral) in delivering a death penalty such as lethal injection – which isn’t to say that there hasn’t been forms of the death penalty that were just as gruesome as stoning some to death.
        So, I ask again, do you stone to death (like your bible tells you) drunkard, rebellious, stubborn people that are brought in by one of your church members?
        ***4. “Why would your all-loving, god create and send these children into these horrific situations, in the first place? [sic]” – This is a classic situation of wanting God to be what we want him to be.  The answer can be found in Romans 9:21-23–“and He did so in order that He might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.”***
        OK then, let’s get this straight – I don’t WANT god to be anything; I do NOT believe in your god of the bible – get it?
        I am merely presenting an argument that the god character in the bible is a vile, immoral genocidal maniac that commands or causes the egregious SUFFERING of children and babies which is evidenced by 1Sam 15:3 “The Lord says, Go and attack the Amalekites! Destroy them and all their possessions. Don’t have any pity. Kill their men, women, children, and even their babies.”
        By what stretch of the imagination could the SLAUGHTER and SUFFERING of children and babies be moral or justified?
        Are you arguing that god allows, commands and commits the slaughter and suffering of children and babies for his glory? And this is moral – how exactly?
        Or perhaps in your reality, the slaughter and suffering of children is good because god is good?
         
        In any case a god who would allow, command and commit the slaughter and suffering of children and babies should be spit upon – certainly not worshiped!
         
        And please refrain from turning the argument into a semantic splitting of hairs (Wanting god to be what we WANT him to be) spare me! Please address specifically, the morality of a god who allows, commands and commits the slaughter and SUFFERING of children and babies.
         
        ***5. Lastly, you call our God “despicable,” and your argument that he’s despicable is based upon the affirmation of the following statements: a. God should not kill anyone.b. God should not judge anyone.c. God should not tolerate evil in the world.***
         
        a.        No.
        b.       No
        c.        No.
        It’s all about the egregious SUFFERING bible-god causes or commands against his earthly children.
        “…a God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave is angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell–mouths mercy, and invented hell–mouths Golden Rules and foregiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!” –Mark Twain
        “The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shielf it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God’s treatment of his earthly children, every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits them. Your country and mine is an interesting one, but there is nothing there that is half so interesting as the human mind.” –Mark Twain

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          You must not have been very good at debate, if you couldn’t use this document effectively to advocate physical discipline vs. physical abuse.  Legally and morally, there’s a difference between “striking” in discipline, and “striking” in abuse.  The difference is physical injury.

          The Bible does not advocate child abuse.  It advocates child discipline.  Anyone who says otherwise is deliberately misinterpreting the Bible and, like you, has an agenda.

          • Anonymous

            The Bible does not advocate child abuse.  It advocates child discipline” ~ R. Ewoldt

            Provided the child doesn’t belong to your enemy. If the child happens to belong to your enemy? Then the Bible advocates dashing their heads against rocks. Nice.

            Christianity is nonsense.

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Re: Deut 21 – I gave an example of how Deut 21 would be applied today, practically.  You said (I’m paraphrasing), “No, it has to be applied much more broadly.  In fact, it should apply to all incidences of rebellion, etc.”

          It’s a matter of interpretation.  You interpret it to mean that if a child rebels, go ahead and have the church kill him.  Bible scholars interpret it to mean that, in the event of a serious rebellion, and serious alcoholism, etc, then you turn him over to the city elders (i.e. the authorities) for trial and punishment.

          • Anonymous

            9How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones  against the rock. ~ Psalm 137:9

            So, I’m curious. How do “Bible scholars” interpret what is clearly sickening vengence, if taken at face-value?

          • Anonymous

            ::crickets::

            Or wait, maybe an entirely new post will be dedicated to this subject…? As if relocating nonsense all of the sudden makes it sensible. 

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            I’ll probably do a post on this.

          • Anonymous

            ‘ Genuinely curious to hear how feeling “blessed” about dashing children’s heads against rocks will be defended. And let’s face it, it WILL be defended, won’t it? Yes, of course. It couldn’t possibly be that the bible is merely the work of ancient, uneducated men and a reflection of the barbaric times in which they lived. Nah.

          • Anonymous

            I curiously await said “post”. It will be interesting to see how you’ll defend what appears to be nothing but sickening vengence. 

          • Anonymous

            “It’s a matter of interpretation.”

            Young Robert, did God give you and your church elders the gift of interpretation?  If so, I sure would like to know why so many devout Bible scholars from different denominations have different interpretations of different sections of scripture.   You boldly stated in another post that “if something is true, it’s true. If something’s not true, it’s not true”.  If God is the source of scripture, it seems reasonable that there should be consistency re. the interpretation of that scripture within the body of Christ.  Well, there obviously isn’t.  

          • Anonymous

            Since I’ve yet to get an answer from the blog’s administrator, perhaps there’s  “Biblical Scholar” who may be reading who can step up and tell us the “True Interpretation” on the Psalm verse, above. 

            To an unscholarly laymen such as myself, the verse looks like nothing more than disgusting vengence. It couldn’t possibly be that, though..could it? No—there MUST be an apologetic, just like there is a corresponding apologetic to every disgusting, filthy verse found in “God’s Word”.

  • Anonymous

    Well, I see boom and Young Robert are having a lively discussion on this subject.

    The concept of moral law is an interesting topic.  I am surprised that the specific topic of codified laws has not garnered more attention.  The Code of Hammurabi was a set of codified laws that have been dated to the ~18th century BCE.  Mosaic Law was recorded centuries later.  Now, I am not suggesting that parts of Mosaic Law were copied from the Code of Hammurabi, but there are undeniable similarities.  However, what is particularly interesting is the claimed SOURCE of each set of codified laws.  Hammurabi claims he was inspired by Anu and Bel, whilst Moses claims he was inspired by YHWH.  The Code of Hammurabi and Mosaic Law are two distinct sets of  codified laws.  There are similarities, yet we know the Code of Hammurabi was recorded centuries earlier.  However, I am willing to bet my eye tooth that Young Robert readily accepts the claimed  source of Mosaic Law whilst rejecting the claimed source of Hammurabi’s Code.  Shocking, I know…

    As a side note, there are a number of sets of codified laws that pre-date the Code of Hammurabi, but I feel strangely certain that Young Robert rejects the claimed sources of all of them as well.  After all, there is only room for the “one true God” in Young Robert’s domain…

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      Young Sid continues to believe that this the “silver bullet” against the Mosaic law.  Duly noted.

      • Anonymous

        Sid made no such claim of a “silver bullet”.  Sid clearly demonstrated that numerous codified sets of laws were recorded and administered long before Mosaic Law was codified and administered.  Sid also asserts that Young Robert rejects the sources of inspiration for each of those sets of codified laws aside from Mosaic Law.  Young Robert is free to rebut this assertion if he wishes. 

  • Anonymous

    ..

  • Anonymous

    ..

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  • O!

    ***You must not have been very good at debate, if you couldn’t use this document effectively to advocate physical discipline vs. physical abuse.  Legally and morally, there’s a difference between “striking” in discipline, and “striking” in abuse.  The difference is physical injury.***
    Oh yes……………….either you lightly tap the bad child with a stick, leaving no welts, cuts or bruising or the Christian can send a stinging message and be creative by striking a child where the welts, cuts and bruises are hidden.
    With that being said, you would agree, if a child, in your church, walked in with welt marks and bruising from a rod, you would be obligated, by law, to contact children services — right?
    ***The Bible does not advocate child abuse. *** 
    You mean like sending in a barbaric army of men, SLAUGHTERING everyone, including, pregnant women and children and babies, showing them NO PITY, using the primitive weapons of the day — cutting throats, chopping off heads, plunging swords into bellies, bludgeoning and eviscerating, causing mass SUFFERING.
    ***It advocates child discipline.  Anyone who says otherwise is deliberately misinterpreting the Bible and, like you, has an agenda. ***
    The bible condones a parent to hit a child with a STICK. I wouldn’t even whack an animal with a stick; let alone a child. Any person striking a child with a stick is a morally reprehensible piece of $@#%!
    Furthermore, those stick hitting moral codes, in proverbs, are just a springboard for abuse, where the religious zealot interprets it (NOT  “deliberately misinterpreting”) as their god-given right to abuse their child; all the while they call it “striking in discipline”. (More on interpretation below)
    ***It’s a matter of interpretation.***
    Funny about that.  Isn’t it interesting that Mr. Omniscient (aka bible-god) didn’t realize that his all-important moral rules would be up to interpretation. But of course — you being a True Christian™ – your interpretation is the one true correct interpretation.
    ***You interpret it to mean that if a child rebels, go ahead and have the church kill him.  Bible scholars interpret it to mean that, in the event of a serious rebellion, and serious alcoholism, etc, then you turn him over to the city elders (i.e. the authorities) for trial and punishment. ***
    Right — because if you’re a “serious alcoholic” you should take him out back and stone him to death.
    Bible scholars? Really? Bible scholars=bible apologists, you agree with.
    Because (as I’m sure you know) other bible scholars would have different interpretations as opposed to you and your bible scholars would have. But we could play my bible scholar is better than your bible scholar, all day long and it still wouldn’t get us anywhere.
    And, as we well know, other Christians (many, many whack-a-loon Christians) have interpreted stoning children and hitting children with a stick as their bible-authorized prerogative to abuse children.  Interpretation is a curious thing – no?
    Again, funny that Mr. Omniscient didn’t realize how badly his moral code would be bastardized, over the centuries.
    Also on the flip side, there are other Christians who interpret the bible and come to the conclusion that hitting a child with a stick or any implement, including spanking is wrong. Things that make you go Hmmmmm????
    And were you going to specifically address, the morality of a god who allows, commands and commits the SLAUGHTER and SUFFERING of children and babies? Please reply to the arguments and questions I presented, above, in my last post.

  • O!

    ***You must not have been very good at debate, if you couldn’t use this document effectively to advocate physical discipline vs. physical abuse.  Legally and morally, there’s a difference between “striking” in discipline, and “striking” in abuse.  The difference is physical injury.***
    Oh yes……………….either you lightly tap the bad child with a stick, leaving no welts, cuts or bruising or the Christian can send a stinging message and be creative by striking a child where the welts, cuts and bruises are hidden.
    With that being said, you would agree, if a child, in your church, walked in with welt marks and bruising from a rod, you would be obligated, by law, to contact children services — right?
    ***The Bible does not advocate child abuse. *** 
    You mean like sending in a barbaric army of men, SLAUGHTERING everyone, including, pregnant women and children and babies, showing them NO PITY, using the primitive weapons of the day — cutting throats, chopping off heads, plunging swords into bellies, bludgeoning and eviscerating, causing mass SUFFERING.
    ***It advocates child discipline.  Anyone who says otherwise is deliberately misinterpreting the Bible and, like you, has an agenda. ***
    The bible condones a parent to hit a child with a STICK. I wouldn’t even whack an animal with a stick; let alone a child. Any person striking a child with a stick is a morally reprehensible piece of $@#%!
    Furthermore, those stick hitting moral codes, in proverbs, are just a springboard for abuse, where the religious zealot interprets it (NOT  “deliberately misinterpreting”) as their god-given right to abuse their child; all the while they call it “striking in discipline”. (More on interpretation below)
    ***It’s a matter of interpretation.***
    Funny about that.  Isn’t it interesting that Mr. Omniscient (aka bible-god) didn’t realize that his all-important moral rules would be up to interpretation. But of course — you being a True Christian™ – your interpretation is the one true correct interpretation.
    ***You interpret it to mean that if a child rebels, go ahead and have the church kill him.  Bible scholars interpret it to mean that, in the event of a serious rebellion, and serious alcoholism, etc, then you turn him over to the city elders (i.e. the authorities) for trial and punishment. ***
    Right — because if you’re a “serious alcoholic” you should take him out back and stone him to death.
    Bible scholars? Really? Bible scholars=bible apologists, you agree with.
    Because (as I’m sure you know) other bible scholars would have different interpretations as opposed to you and your bible scholars would have. But we could play my bible scholar is better than your bible scholar, all day long and it still wouldn’t get us anywhere.
    And, as we well know, other Christians (many, many whack-a-loon Christians) have interpreted stoning children and hitting children with a stick as their bible-authorized prerogative to abuse children.  Interpretation is a curious thing – no?
    Again, funny that Mr. Omniscient didn’t realize how badly his moral code would be bastardized, over the centuries.
    Also on the flip side, there are other Christians who interpret the bible and come to the conclusion that hitting a child with a stick or any implement, including spanking is wrong. Things that make you go Hmmmmm????
    And were you going to specifically address, the morality of a god who allows, commands and commits the SLAUGHTER and SUFFERING of children and babies? Please reply to the arguments and questions I presented, above, in my last post.

  • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

    boom, I’ve made a post of your “omniscience and omnipotence” dilemma.  It’s in a new post: http://bobewoldt.com/omniscience-and-omnipotence/

  • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

    boom, I’ve posted a response to your “omniscience and omnipotence” dilemma.  You can find it at: http://bobewoldt.com/omniscience-and-omnipotence/

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  • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

    I guess an experiment would be to decide that punching people in the face is good. Then, punch a moral relativist in the face, and see if it bothers her. It shouldn’t.

    This is a tough and slippery subject. Glad you took it on.

    • Anonymous

      “I guess an experiment would be to decide that punching people in the face is good. Then, punch a moral relativist in the face, and see if it bothers her. It shouldn’t”

      Oh, hell….okay, I’ll bite. On the extremely off-to-nonexistent chance that any person would “decide that punching people in the face is good”, why shouldn’t it bother a “moral relativist”?

      • Anonymous

        And as long as we’re conducting experiments, let’s say that “God” decided that juvenile delinquents should be lined up and pelted with rocks. Then, of those juvenile delinquents whose parents are Christians, call these parents and see if bothers them that their child has been kept after school and  bludgeoned with rocks. It shouldn’t.

        • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

          Well, admittedly the pain could bother her. The moral choice ought not to. (If each individual is the author of moral choice.)

          Your experiment falls into “the make a square a circle” type of logical fallacy.

          God has already thrown rocks at my child…and it bothers me as long as I’m under the impression that I could possibly understand Her. 

          • Anonymous

            “Well, admittedly the pain could bother her.”

            Right, and not-too-shockingly, that is perfectly in accordance with the avoidance of unnecessary pain/harm ethical standard, which is the closest thing to an “objective” standard of morality that you’ll find.

            “The moral choice ought not to. (If each individual is the author of moral choice.)”

            Moral relativists understand and accept something called cultural relativity. They understand that, say, if one person lives alone on an island, then he or she can act as they please. However, as soon as people start living in groups, the moral relativist understands that the group, as whole, decides what they accept/don’t accept. Loosely assuming that you can locate just one individual who believes that striking people in the face with a fist is the “good”, “moral” thing to do, you can wager a lot of money that that person, if he or she chooses to enter a group of people who have decided that hitting people in the face is “wrong”, will be punished each time they hit someone. And of course, he or she can always choose to leave that group.

            “Your experiment falls into ‘the make a square a circle’ type of logical fallacy.”

            Here was my experiment:

            let’s say that “God” decided that lining up juvenile delinquents and pelting them with rocks is good. Then, of those juvenile delinquents whose parents are Christians, call these moms and dads and see if bothers them that their child has been kept after school and bludgeoned with rocks. It shouldn’t.

            I’m at a total loss as to how that falls into a “make a square a circle type of fallacy”. Thus, you’d have to do a bit more than just assert it.

            “God has already thrown rocks at my child…”

            Then you worship an immoral and cruel “God”, as far as I’m concerned. And moreover, it shouldn’t be any shock to you and those who believe like you why I wouldn’t “love” or “worship” such a being, even if I were thoroughly convinced that such being exists(which, of course,  I’m not)

            “[….]and it bothers me as long as I’m under the impression that I could possibly understand Her.”

            Ah, so inflicting pain onto children and young adults might be for a “good” reason, one that we might not be able to understand. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this only applies when it’s “God” doing the ordering; when it’s “God” whom we don’t understand. If that’s the case, that would be an appeal to ignorance, and an appeal to authoritarianism.

          • http://lisadelay.com/blog Lisa Colon DeLay

            Um. right. you seem to be misunderstanding me, on all of my points…granted this venue is rather poor for the debate I think you hope to have. 

            I doubt I have the time or energy to clarify all this as well as encounter your over-emotionality. You obviously have been hurt by people who call themselves Christians, or something like that. This baggage makes it hard to have conversations that are constructive for both of us. It’s right out of the “playbook”…I used to spend plenty of time in philosophical interaction with atheists. It only works if there is mutual respect. I don’t get that sense of neutrality (or even bridled hostility) from you, so it seems we are wasting each other’s time. I don’t have a interest in changing your mind, but I wish you well. Peace and love. Sounds like you have it all figured out. Ciao.

          • Anonymous

            Make all of the excuses you’d like. And if you feel that you’re being convincing,  feel free to add to the list of ad hominem arguments you’ve already presented in just two short paragraphs, above….e.g..”over-emotionality”, “baggage”, “have it all figured out”. Trust me, this is nothing new to me when attempting these conversations with believers. Oh, and no theist rebuttal would be complete without the,  “you’ve been hurt by people who call themselves Christians”, rigmarole. I’ve got news for you, Ma’am, every Christian calls themselves “a Christian”. There is no litmus test for determining who’s a “True Believer”, and who isn’t. Hence, part of the problem with theism and supposed “moral objectivists”. 

            As far as “respect”, I respect your right to believe whatever you wish. But make no mistake, I don’t necessarily respect those beliefs, themselves. If you believe in a “God” who can do what he/she wants…e.g..decree that bludgeoning kids with rocks is “good”, and if you believe that this “God” can do so by pure virtue of being “God”, fantastic. I by no means have it all figured out, but I know enough that I want no part of that “God”, even if it existed. Ciao.