CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

We've been talking a lot on this blog lately about how atheism is so much like a religion. Well, every self-respecting religion should have some hymns, right? The problem with atheism is that there doesn't seem to be much to sing reverently and gratefully about. For example, how can anything in atheism motivate the sublimity of a hymn like that of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love,
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith,
Where there is despair, hope,
Where there is darkness, light,
Where there is sadness, joy!

Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life

What would be the atheistic equivalent of this hymn? Maybe something like this:

Oh blind watchmaker,
make me an instrument of Machiavellian social appeasement
Where there is hatred, let me sow an inhibiting instict for self-preservation
Where there is injury, survival of the fittest
Where there is doubt, yet more doubt and skepticism
Where there is despair, wishful thinking of man-made hope in a meaningless world
Where there is darkness, science as a candle in the dark
Where there is sadness, a utilitarian, pragmatic compromise

43 comments:

Now J.D. an ivy leaguer like you stooping to sarcasm! O pshaw!

You make the assumption that Atheism tends to nihilism, and you imply that it leads to immorality and abandonment.

Strange then, how I and other atheists don't go around raping, pillaging and murdering. It could be that people like yourselves have heard that Humanism is a way of qualifying morality without a god. I suspect you've chosen to ignore it because for your faith, it's an inconvenient qualification.

Similarly you make the assumption that atheism (as an ism, perhaps?) is like a religion. Wrong. Religions depend on faith. I am convinced there is no god, but I don't believe it in the same way that you unquestioningly believe that *is* a god. To be convinced and to believe are two entirely different things.

I won't deny that there are many atheists who do get evangelical about their views. Unlike Christianity however, evangelism doesn't go hand in hand with atheism, so I'd thank you for not tarring us all with the same brush.

I am not making such assumptions. But there is a segment of atheism that has gotten so carried away. Look at this piece on Atheist Watch:

http://atheistwatch.blogspot.com/
2007/12/are-atheists-burning
-chruches.html

the idea of burning churches shows up more and more in atheist expressions of anger, in metaphor and in symbols of their defiance.

You guy have got to stop trying to defending yourselves and start taking seriously the need to police your own ranks.

I would say that these assumptions form the very premise of your argument. Obviously your hymn is a spoof and it's silly to read a lot into it, but it depends on the idea that atheism is nihilistic, empty and amoral. "Where there is despair, wishful thinking of man-made hope in a meaningless world". You also suggest social Darwinism: "Where there is injury, survival of the fittest". Exactly how many people do you know who are convinced by evolution who agree with it as a social principle? Social conduct may be a product of evolution but it is not, within itself, subject to it.

Your source hardly looks authoritative - tabloid blogging at it's best. However I do agree with you that there are a lot of angry atheists out there but equally there are a lot who are like me. Without sounding egotistical, it tends to be the ones who know what they're talking about who don't breathe fire. You need to remember that there is no church of atheism, no society and only low-key political movements. Remember that atheism is simply a philosophical statement; "I am convinced that there is no God". It is not a holistic philosophy like Humanism or Kantianism. For a group of people who are, by their nature, independent thinkers, organising a grass-roots movement where some can represent others is notoriously difficult. It's like trying to stack tomatoes.

That is why the idea of us "policing our own ranks" is absurd because the next atheist may be very different to me.

Similarly, I don't know what it's like in the US, but here in Europe it is Christians who are on the defensive in terms of their arguments which frankly is the way it should be. You postulate a God and I say "prove it". The burden of proof is on the theists.

J.L. Hinman,

"The Atheist Watch" blog seems to be full of generalizations, sensationalism and hate towards atheists. That blogger is putting all atheist in the same category. It is not like when a Christians commit a crime it is the because (s)he is a Christian. I don't think CADRE presents Westboro baptists' or Ann Coulter's view nor should be blamed of their actions. Same goes with atheists.

Headline: Violence Looming
Text: I hope we don't hear a lot of sanctimony from atheists about how this what Christians do. I am not blaming atheists.

Headline: Are Atheists Burning Chruches?
Text: At this time there is no evidence that atheists are burning churches.
I am not accusing atheists of burning churches

Headline: Is Atheism a Hate Group?
Text: I have made that charge on message boards many times.

I don't see the point of the blog. No atheists will want come to that blog and discuss issues rationally. Is that blog going to be a gathering place of atheist haters?

-Peter

JD Walters,

Quite funny...

-Peter

J.L. Hinman,

You guy have got to stop trying to defending yourselves and start taking seriously the need to police your own ranks.
Interesting opinion. I don't really see this happening in Christian Churches (Child molesting, abortion clinic bombing, bigotry against gays, hate sites like "The Atheist Watch"...). Once you come up with a model how Christians should police their ranks, then you can propose that to the other groups. Would that be fair?

-Peter

Here is an atheistic adaptation of the second stanza, as I think it would go:

As a humanist, I tell myself that I should not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
But it is in dying that we see that none of this has made any difference

Peter Bruin, you think that it requires the existence of God or the possibility of going into heaven or hell to make life meaningful, or to make a difference to other people?

I think that the Jews (who have no conception of hell opposed to heaven) would disagree with you there.

Ben,

Humanists are certainly not hypocrites for trying to make a difference to other people, even though that may not change their destiny after death. In fact, I think that for Christians, too, the prospect of going to heaven or to hell is a bad motivation for being nice to other people. The more people follow the first commandment, the better (at least from a Christian perspective), whether they are motivated by fear of hell or not. The fact that that loving your neighbour is a good thing in itself (again, at least from a Christian perspective) should be motivating enough.

However, in less than 150 years, everyone you will have ever met will have died, and if death is the end of everyone's existence, you and all the good and bad you have caused will have been forgotten. I do not claim that this is a sufficient reason for an atheist to live immorally; it does mean that, all things considered, life must seem to an atheist an enormous tragedy played for an empty theatre. And if you or someone else messes up, so what?

Not at all. Non-permanence is just part of the nature of the universe. If you look at the history of human culture, our Western monotheistic attachment to permanence is an aberration. In ancient Iron-age pagan societies, for example, the past was thought of as living and our own time on Earth to be transient. They accepted the inevitability of death and the fact that anything you do will ultimately end up as dust. This gave rise to a moral code that was human-based and ultimately encouraged temperance and humility. I think we can learn a lot from that. That's not to say that these people were atheists - of course they were not, but I think they had a healthier moral footing than most Christians I have met who rely more upon "The Book (TM)" and the fear of judgement rather than the goodness of their own nature.

I don't think of my life as some cruel joke. I'm happy; great friends, great family, great career, etc. I take more pleasure in the love of people close to me and my creativity than I ever did from the promise of heaven when I used to be religious. It's all a question of the health of your perspective.

our source hardly looks authoritative - tabloid blogging at it's best. However I do agree with you that there are a lot of angry atheists out there but equally there are a lot who are like me. Without sounding egotistical, it tends to be the ones who know what they're talking about who don't breathe fire. You need to remember that there is no church of atheism, no society and only low-key political movements. Remember that atheism is simply a philosophical statement; "I am convinced that there is no God". It is not a holistic philosophy like Humanism or Kantianism. For a group of people who are, by their nature, independent thinkers, organising a grass-roots movement where some can represent others is notoriously difficult. It's like trying to stack tomatoes.

That is why the idea of us "policing our own ranks" is absurd because the next atheist may be very different to me.


gee why did I think you would say that? I was quoting atheist websites where they have "the burning church" as a social club and statements about "hey want to burn a church." that's not tabloid anything, atheist sites.

of course you don't want to police anything, that's typical and symptomatic of the forces producing the hate.

"The Atheist Watch" blog seems to be full of generalizations, sensationalism and hate towards atheists.

of course it does, because you are on the defensive. you know your social goup is about hate. You know that most atheists on the net spend most of their time ridiculing Christians. Of course you are on the defensive.



That blogger is putting all atheist in the same category.

Nope I have said repeatedly that i am not. But that's good. I will put up standard statements saying that I'm not. i have said in the context of the articles, but I will say it in more lasting forms.



It is not like when a Christians commit a crime it is the because (s)he is a Christian. I don't think CADRE presents Westboro baptists' or Ann Coulter's view nor should be blamed of their actions. Same goes with atheists.


there are Christian influenced hate groups to. I had a blog tracing those, but no one looked at it.

Headline: Violence Looming
Text: I hope we don't hear a lot of sanctimony from atheists about how this what Christians do. I am not blaming atheists.


atheist culture on the internet feeds hatred.

Headline: Are Atheists Burning Chruches?
Text: At this time there is no evidence that atheists are burning churches.
I am not accusing atheists of burning churches

I show a plethora of sources where the image of burning a chruch is on the minds of atheists. It's a huge metaphor they use all the time.

You guy have got to stop trying to defending yourselves and start taking seriously the need to police your own ranks.
Interesting opinion. I don't really see this happening in Christian Churches (Child molesting, abortion clinic bombing, bigotry against gays, hate sites like "The Atheist Watch"...). Once you come up with a model how Christians should police their ranks, then you can propose that to the other groups. Would that be fair?


you need to pay more attention. A large portion of Church energy is about policing the ranks. That's why all the Christian hate groups are ostracized and thought of as fringe elements and kicked out of mainstream churches, in fact most fo the KKK cross burnings were against real churches and white ministers.

all major denoms have chain of command that includes enforcing right doctrine and hate is not part of right doctrine.

Humanists are certainly not hypocrites for trying to make a difference to other people, even though that may not change their destiny after death. In fact, I think that for Christians, too, the prospect of going to heaven or to hell is a bad motivation for being nice to other people. The more people follow the first commandment, the better (at least from a Christian perspective), whether they are motivated by fear of hell or not. The fact that that loving your neighbour is a good thing in itself (again, at least from a Christian perspective) should be motivating enough


right on man! You are close buddy. You are a lot closer than you think.

btw I want to explain the cake hole comment. I usually don't try to defend my gafs because I"m basically sociall inept and I do them a lot. And no one cares about explainations. I'm sure you will continue to think badly of me anyway, but I do want to explain.

In Dallas we get the British sit coms and I watch them avidly. To me "shut your cake hole" is a humors phrase I forget most people are not familiar with those shows and would not see that term as funny.

to me its a humorous reference to a beloved charter for the purpose of making people laugh. But I forget those who have never seen "Are you Being Served" on PBS (Or BBC) wont get it and to you it sounds really rude.

please forgive my social anomia

I expect that if you showed those sites you use as a source to any atheist with an ounce of civility and common sense, they would be sickened that people were inciting violence in the name of a simple philosophical statement. This is something that we try to *escape* when rejecting religion!

I'd suggest you start using proper sources; sociological studies, experts in the field, published scientific research, reputable news organisations and the like in your "atheist watch" site. I doubt you will because, with respect, your site looks like a load of reactionary piffle. Still, there's always hope, no? ;-)

You're last comment suggests that you think my distancing myself from a tiny number of maladjusted idiots is related to the reason they are dysfunctional in the first place! Perhaps you think that I, as an atheist, am inclined to support the idea of burning churches.

I find myself inclined to stop taking you seriously if my interpretation is correct. I would suggest other Christians do too; as reasonable people with whom I respectably disagree, you can do so much better than Mr Hinman's display of shoddy rhetoric.

"all major denoms have chain of command that includes enforcing right doctrine and hate is not part of right doctrine."

As I have said previously, you are committing a severe fallacy by assuming that atheists exist in groups / societies / churches. They simply do not which is disappointing for me because I would like us to have better political representation here in the UK and in the US, though I expect we're further ahead in Europe. If there was an organisation of atheists analogous to, say, the Catholic church, then I would agree that undesirable elements should be expunged.

However, I think that you, either deliberately or otherwise, fail to comprehend the nature of the atheist beast.

Some atheists are starting to see the problem. Tiny Thinker is an atheist, he used to be well known among message board atheists as a member of the "gang of four." In the late 90s they terrorized creationist boards with great arguments. He also has blog "peaceful turmoil" and used to have a message board of the same name. In real life he's an academic, an anthropologist. He's one of the brightest people I know, one of the nicest and I consider my best friend on the net. He says on my comment section:

Collapse comments

tiny thinker said...

I used to think that folks like that were just angry teenagers in high school or young college students. I mean, it's understandable why some people get cheesed off and have a bad attitude towards Christianity based based on their particular exposure to it, but I chalked up the extreme form of rhetoric to emotional immaturity, inability to process arguments beyond basic black/white duality because of still developing but incomplete logic skills, or just a desire to say outrageous things to get a rise out of people. You know, being a typical 15-22 year old dumbass. Who hasn't been there?

I said: Then these books by (well-known,) educated adult atheists started coming out...

Tiny: I think CARM is a breeding ground for animosity where intolerance and insults begets intolerance and insults, but this kind of hatred goes well beyond communities like that.

I expect that if you showed those sites you use as a source to any atheist with an ounce of civility and common sense, they would be sickened that people were inciting violence in the name of a simple philosophical statement. This is something that we try to *escape* when rejecting religion!


soooo, why is it a problem to police your ranks?

I'd suggest you start using proper sources; sociological studies, experts in the field, published scientific research, reputable news organisations and the like in your "atheist watch" site. I doubt you will because, with respect, your site looks like a load of reactionary piffle. Still, there's always hope, no? ;-)


Like the FBI> Missed that one didn't ya? It's the first article on the blog. Showing FBI senerio for the evolution of hate groups and how it fits atheists on the net.

You're last comment suggests that you think my distancing myself from a tiny number of maladjusted idiots is related to the reason they are dysfunctional in the first place! Perhaps you think that I, as an atheist, am inclined to support the idea of burning churches.


a tiny numb who number in the thousands and who populate almost all atheist message boards.

I find myself inclined to stop taking you seriously if my interpretation is correct. I would suggest other Christians do too; as reasonable people with whom I respectably disagree, you can do so much better than Mr Hinman's display of shoddy rhetoric.

because you are not prepared to hear the truth. It's always hard to face to ugly truths. you have to start. you are going to hear about more church burnings and shootings and you have going to be saying that a lot "they are maladjusted idiots and they don't represent us. that's gonna become your standard phrase.

Without knowing what books by educated, adult atheists you're referring to, I can't possibly respond. I don't know what the intellectual climate is like the in States but over here, any book that espouses hate will simply not be taken seriously. It'd be like trying to get reasonable people to agree with Mein Kampf or Leviticus!

Regardless, I think if you want to find examples of atheists hating Christians, you will... just like you'll find examples of Muslims eating a BLT sandwich, Republicans who own an atlas or Liberals that don't hate themselves.

It is wrong to expand these definitions into stereotypes that categorise the whole group, particularly one as inherently diverse and disaporic as atheists.

As I have said previously, you are committing a severe fallacy by assuming that atheists exist in groups / societies / churches. They simply do not which is disappointing for me because I would like us to have better political representation here in the UK and in the US, though I expect we're further ahead in Europe.


the problem with that kind of thinking is it totally ignores the internet. open your eyes and look at what internet atheism is. It's a community. you have no standard organization, but you certainly have a vast web of connected sites. you say the same things, use the same phrases. when one argument get's out on the sec web you can be sure all atheists everywhere will be saying it in 42 hours.


Obviously it's a community and its' interrelated and that means you could use social pressure to say "hey now we don't use violence here. we don't burn churches." but you don't. you all just laugh your heads of as Christians are ridiculed and slandered..


you don't want to take my real thinking seriously because you can't handle it. Loftus is afraid to debate me, as are all of you so you have to pretend that I have nothing to say but this kind of crap. But read the arguments. read my blog read my site and come debate me in a formal debate on God arguments. I promise to be nice and you will see how serious I am.




If there was an organisation of atheists analogous to, say, the Catholic church, then I would agree that undesirable elements should be expunged.

"soooo, why is it a problem to police your ranks?"

Because there are no ranks of which to speak.

"Like the FBI"

I'd hope that the FBI would investigate any hate group regardless of number or twisted philosophy they use to justify themselves. It doesn't address my original point that a bunch of nutjobs shouldn't be use to tar the group with the same brush.

"a tiny numb who number in the thousands and who populate almost all atheist message boards."

If you go ahead and actually meet some of these people, you're more likely to meet with friendly, reasonable conversation rather than hatred. The internet, and especially the oppositional nature of BB's is always going to breed hostility and fractiousness in debates. It's a shame but you'll find the clever ones don't need to do so. I don't know a single atheist (and I know a lot!) who isn't capable of supporting their arguments in a calm logical way, and thus anger and hatred is unnecessary.

"because you are not prepared to hear the truth. It's always hard to face to ugly truths"

Well I think you need to actually provide an argument which addresses my points and convinces me before claiming to speak the truth and have me agree with you. That is the long-accustomed of the Christian philosopher, William of Ockham.

"you are going to hear about more church burnings and shootings"

Whether or not that's the case, they do not represent the vast majority of reasonable atheists. If it becomes a big problem, then it is symptomatic of a very human tendency to fanaticism, therefore it would be hypocritical of anyone of faith to attack that on (ir)religious grounds!

Should one feel additional shame for the holocaust because one has blonde hair and blue eyes?

"the problem with that kind of thinking is it totally ignores the internet. open your eyes and look at what internet atheism is. It's a community. you have no standard organization, but you certainly have a vast web of connected sites. you say the same things, use the same phrases. when one argument get's out on the sec web you can be sure all atheists everywhere will be saying it in 42 hours."

Ha! Hardly. The internet or individual BB's are no more representative organisations than a public street at any given moment. You speak of atheists as though we use the internet as some Borg-like collective or commune!

"you could use social pressure to say "hey now we don't use violence here. we don't burn churches.""

On all the forums I've ever been on, it's never come up. Obviously there's a lot of blasphemy but that's neither criminal or malicious. You're a fan of British comedy so I presume this point is not lost on you. If large numbers of atheists were roaming the streets burning churches, abusing people or terrifying kids with visions of hellfire, I and most/all atheists I know would be up in arms (figuratively) about it.

"you don't want to take my real thinking seriously because you can't handle it. Loftus is afraid to debate me, as are all of you so you have to pretend that I have nothing to say but this kind of crap."

Logical and philosophical discourse is what I have spent many years training to do. I assure you, the prospect of debating you leaves me unfazed. Given that we on Earth are all beset by limited time which must be used wisely, I must decline your invitation to visit your site. Perhaps, when convenient for you, you would like to visit my blog and we can discuss further at leisure?

ben.elijah.blogspot.com

...please forgive the typo!

http://benelijah.blogspot.com

"the problem with that kind of thinking is it totally ignores the internet. open your eyes and look at what internet atheism is. It's a community. you have no standard organization, but you certainly have a vast web of connected sites. you say the same things, use the same phrases. when one argument get's out on the sec web you can be sure all atheists everywhere will be saying it in 42 hours."

Ha! Hardly. The internet or individual BB's are no more representative organisations than a public street at any given moment. You speak of atheists as though we use the internet as some Borg-like collective or commune!


that is totally ridiculous. You are vastly under estimating the power of atheist sites to influence each other.

"you could use social pressure to say "hey now we don't use violence here. we don't burn churches.""

On all the forums I've ever been on, it's never come up. Obviously there's a lot of blasphemy but that's neither criminal or malicious.


you should be discouraging all ridicule as a weapon. it's not a valid form of argument and it foments hatred.




You're a fan of British comedy so I presume this point is not lost on you. If large numbers of atheists were roaming the streets burning churches, abusing people or terrifying kids with visions of hellfire, I and most/all atheists I know would be up in arms (figuratively) about it.

I would like to think so. but it probably wont go that far. It will mean more and more fringe characters will feel justified and not a lone in their hate and it means people will not involve themselves in real thinking or discussion.

"you don't want to take my real thinking seriously because you can't handle it. Loftus is afraid to debate me, as are all of you so you have to pretend that I have nothing to say but this kind of crap."

Logical and philosophical discourse is what I have spent many years training to do. I assure you, the prospect of debating you leaves me unfazed.


great! the invite is open any time.



Given that we on Earth are all beset by limited time which must be used wisely, I must decline your invitation to visit your site. Perhaps, when convenient for you, you would like to visit my blog and we can discuss further at leisure?


yes that would be nice. I'll look it up through your profile. thanks man.

well I think you need to actually provide an argument which addresses my points and convinces me before claiming to speak the truth and have me agree with you. That is the long-accustomed of the Christian philosopher, William of Ockham.


I show by the FBI model of hate group development how internet atheism fits the sinerio. there are individual atheists who are becoming violent. I quote form atheist websites, not just tabolid media. form their fingers...

"you are going to hear about more church burnings and shootings"

Whether or not that's the case, they do not represent the vast majority of reasonable atheists. If it becomes a big problem, then it is symptomatic of a very human tendency to fanaticism, therefore it would be hypocritical of anyone of faith to attack that on (ir)religious grounds!

Should one feel additional shame for the holocaust because one has blonde hair and blue eyes?

good point. Of course you are right, but how many times have atheists argued that Christians are bad and Christianity is evil because of association with the crusades. or that Hitler was a Christian so Christianity makes you racist and a scum? I can tell you over the years on message boards I see that argued hundreds of times.

you guys could be saying that's unfair when you see atheists argue that way. do you?

"you should be discouraging all ridicule as a weapon. it's not a valid form of argument and it foments hatred."

Actually no - I think if you get rid of ridicule, you have a license to suppress comedy and art. If someone produced a Barbie Doll called "Mary Magdelene" with a Ken Doll called "Jesus" I'd find that quite amusing. If someone printed the text of the Torah on toilet paper, I'd find that hilarious despite coming from a Jewish family.

That's not Christophobia or Antisemitism because it does not imply hatred of Christians or Jews as people, only incredulity at their beliefs. That leads nicely on to comedy. Discussing this gives me the urge to watch The Life of Brian...

It is not ridicule but ignorance that breeds hatred.

"t will mean more and more fringe characters will feel justified and not a lone in their hate and it means people will not involve themselves in real thinking or discussion."

That's certainly a very pessimistic view. That you hold it so strongly makes me question what experiences have led you to your opinion. I'm glad you have conceded that these people are fringe characters and entirely separate to the majority of thinking atheists who, while perhaps prepared to poke a bit of intelligent fun, would wholly absolve themselves of anyone who commits a violent crime.

"yes that would be nice. I'll look it up through your profile. thanks man."

Awesome! :-) I've been meaning to post a few religion articles - most of the existing ones are from 2006. The recent ones are most likely bemoaning the coffee intake required when you're working full time, studying for university and writing three books at once. If the act of prayer will save me a couple of hours a day, then sign me up, doc!

"
I show by the FBI model of hate group development how internet atheism fits the sinerio. there are individual atheists who are becoming violent. I quote form atheist websites, not just tabolid media. form their fingers..."

I just don't see how this means they represent mainstream atheism though. Any criminal gang is a problem and it's great to see good methods being used to model their development. If it's an internet problem or a social problem, I can understand that, but an atheist problem? Not convinced.

"good point. Of course you are right, but how many times have atheists argued that Christians are bad and Christianity is evil because of association with the crusades. or that Hitler was a Christian so Christianity makes you racist and a scum? I can tell you over the years on message boards I see that argued hundreds of times.

you guys could be saying that's unfair when you see atheists argue that way. do you?"

Actually I tend to run up against Christian hate mongerers who say that because Hitler and Stalin were atheists, that atheism will lead to Nazism and pogroms!! I'm sure you'll agree that that sort of argument is worthy only of ridicule. I think you'll forgive me if I *don't* start goose-stepping around Red Square in Moscow.

Back to the original post; I think the author has a pretty poor understanding of Humanist ethics if that's the kind of thing he thinks we'd come up with.


This is more like it:

(From Paul Kurz)



"# We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

# We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings."

What are the objections to any of that?

Just passing through.

I notice a lot of complaining about JD's satirical rewrite, plus an essential agreement (theism aside) with the verses of the second stanza (which JD didn't satirize) from Peter, and a credo excerpt from Paul Kurz.

Neither of which are rewrites of the first stanza (the one actually satirized by JD). Unless the credo is supposed to count, in which case it actually matches up with the original first stanza in preferences (let us say) pretty closely.

What JD is pointedly satirizing, though, is the underlying explanation categories available within atheism (broadly taken). Obviously no one is going to disagree with the intentions as expressed by Kurz, but when we turn to functional explanations under atheism we get the sort of thing JD is talking about.

I don't think it's realistic to blinker these aside, either, as if they do not constitute the kind of thing that ethics must really be based on in an atheistic reality. Ben (early on before he and Meta got into the AtheistWatch thing; I'll let them hash that out) wrote, "Social conduct may be a product of evolution but it is not, within itself, subject to it." On the contrary, social conduct is absolutely subject to that which it is a product of. If it comes only from this kind of thing, then (by tautology) that's all that really is there, social masking notwithstanding.

Now, I could say consistently that social conduct may be in part a product of evolution but it is not within itself completely subject to evolution (or any compound/tally of things of that sort). But I can say that consistently, because I am a supernaturalistic theist. Or, turning it around, if I realized that naturalism and atheism could only provide explanations of that sort for social conduct, but still believed that something more than that must also be true about our morality, then I would be logically required to admit the existence and influence, in Nature, of something substantially different from atheistic and naturalistic reality (even if I wasn't satisfied with various attempts I heard of to account for this extra reality, including various Christian attempts for example.)

Anyway, I had a lot of positively sympathetic things to say about a certain advanced type of secular ethical therory here; and even in the sequel entry to some extent. But one of the criticisms I have to come back to--and it’s a criticism I would have to come back to even as a secularist--is that it doesn’t synch up with non-theistic explanations and accountings of morality in the end. (Though I had some pretty strong criticisms to hand out concerning theistic ethics, too, in the process.)

JRP

"On the contrary, social conduct is absolutely subject to that which it is a product of. If it comes only from this kind of thing, then (by tautology) that's all that really is there, social masking notwithstanding."

I suspect you've misunderstood my point, which was to say that though we have evolved our propensity for social skills, these themselves do not operate on evolutionary principles. For example, though one may build a fast car very slowly, one drives it fast. That's not a great metaphor but I believe it adequately explains the necessary divide between biological evolution and the flawed idea of social Darwinism. I suspect you'd struggle to find many atheists who advocate the latter.

"if I realized that naturalism and atheism could only provide explanations of that sort for social conduct, but still believed that something more than that must also be true about our morality, then I would be logically required to admit the existence and influence, in Nature, of something substantially different from atheistic and naturalistic reality (even if I wasn't satisfied with various attempts I heard of to account for this extra reality, including various Christian attempts for example.)"

I would suggest that if a humanistic train of thought cannot satisfy you a posteriori, you needn't immediately jump to a priori theism. One should exhaust rationalism first which is a roundabout way of advising against a "God in the gaps" argument, without labouring the point too much because scientific inquiry and ethical inquiry are vastly different (see my earlier point).

Would you agree that it would help us to redefine our question as "Where does our sense of right/wrong come from?"?
Doing so enables me to argue from a Kantian perspective, however there is a rather pretty (far-fetched, sound but not necessarily valid) existentialist argument which suggests that the idea of God is an essentialist fallacy, but one which provides the premise for Judeo-Christian moral thought.

A more fundamental problem is the question of morality as a prescriptive or a descriptive system of ethics. I'm attracted by the emotivist school of thought which links nicely to memetics and developmental psychology. Of course, it renders morality as subjective and personal. I suppose most Christians would object because I might advocate moral relativism, however I would instead point to the categorical imperative which shows m.relativism to be internally inconsistent.

We're left therefore with the rather attractive idea of morality as a form of Aristotelean or Epicurean rhetoric; the Pathos of emotivism, the Logos of Kant and the Ethos of the right way to live your life. What is doubly attractive to me is that this eliminates the conception of "good and evil" which, for someone of a Jewish upbringing, never quite sat right with me.

Of course, this is all a description of the many paths I could go down to show that morality sans god is not inconsistent. It would make more sense I think now for you to propose the link between morality and god and how exactly it functions.

"What JD is pointedly satirizing, though, is the underlying explanation categories available within atheism (broadly taken). Obviously no one is going to disagree with the intentions as expressed by Kurz, but when we turn to functional explanations under atheism we get the sort of thing JD is talking about..."

All JD is doing here is suggesting that atheists have no poetry in them and offering a list which, at best, is a cheap caricature of non-theistic thinking. This says nothing about the underlying reasons for moral reasoning or ethical behaviour. Any exposition of such reasoning is inevitably going to sound dry and dispassionate, whether its from a humanist or a Christian or any other perspective.

J.L. Hinman,

"The Atheist Watch" blog seems to be full of generalizations, sensationalism and hate towards atheists.
"of course it does..."

I'm suprised and really disappointed that you openly hate atheists. I don't think it is a Christian way. Do other CADRE members openly hate atheists?

because you are on the defensive. you know your social goup is about hate.
That is logical fallacy, it does not follow. You are falsely accusing things. No, atheism is not about hate and I would not be a member of a hate group.

there are Christian influenced hate groups to. I had a blog tracing those, but no one looked at it.
Well then, if you can not clean up your own house, don't complain about others'

A large portion of Church energy is about policing the ranks.
So why is the child molesting, attacks on abortion clinic, bigotry against gays, Westboro Babtists, hate sites like "The Atheist Watch" going on? You seem to implying that "ostracizing" and "kicking out of mainstream churches" is enough "policing", but it appears to me that child molesting (and secrecy about it) is still going on in the main stream churches. Are other CADRE members policing your hatret and your hate site?

-Peter

hat's certainly a very pessimistic view. That you hold it so strongly makes me question what experiences have led you to your opinion. I'm glad you have conceded that these people are fringe characters and entirely separate to the majority of thinking atheists who, while perhaps prepared to poke a bit of intelligent fun, would wholly absolve themselves of anyone who commits a violent crime.


the way I have been treated on message boards--especially carm. But the whole atheist message board community basically fabricated a bunch of lies about me and assassinated my regulation because they couldn't handle my arguments. Ok yes I have a crusty side and I can be somewhat boorish in argument and somewhat insulting. But turned it into something that was designed to complete destroy my ego and they used it every chance they got. So for 10 years every night I"ve been called a liar, told that I never went to graduate school (even when I put up the number of the department and left instructions with the secretary to tel them "Yes Joe is a ph.d student, they wouldn't call but would continue to say "you can't be Ph.D. student cause you can't spell. Total disregard of the facts about dyslexia to the point that one actually said dyslexics are lazy and stupid, for no better reason than that they could not beat my arguments.

I assembled a vast aray of documents and proofs and studies. they could not match them so they lied and said they were all done by Christians (they were done by famous social scientists like Abraham Maslow) and then they wound up saying "I do not believe the evidence and I will not investigate it further.

their lies were so proficient that I tried to go to boards I'd never been on, before I ever started to post so had insulted no one they said "O you are that Metacorck guy we wont let you post here."

the sec web guys said that I had said "I can't debate the atheist alawys win I give up I can't stand up them they are too good." totally not me. out of character. I promise you I would never say that. they spread these things all over the net.

whY? because I bet the hell out of their stupid little arguments and they could not win. they had to blanket case me (virtually) because they couldn't compete.

I know I am an arrogant jerk. But I can make good on the arguments. I doubt that any atheist could beat me. could or could not is beside the point. The atheists on sec web, infedel guy and CARM essentually psychologically gang rapped me and attempted to destory my self esteem and ego. then rationalize it by going "well you shouldn't place such great stock in it."

Now you will say I'm doing Atheist Watch to get revenge. I think I'm really trying hard not to do it in hatred, not do a smear job, to be responsible and objective and just to suggest an alternative that atheists do like policing their own guys. To me that's an attempt to make a constructive analysis rather than just denouncing them all as scum. I have atheist friends. all atheist are not bad.

I'm really sorry to hear about all the abuse that you suffered from these people. No-one deserves it at all. I can only hope that I haven't given the impression of being that way inclined.

I always try to understand other people's arguments - if you don't do that you can hardly argue with them effectively, and take them seriously. I don't like it when people get personal or insulting because, in my opinion, the first person to lose their temper loses the debate by default. If someone presents a better argument than mine, the intellectually honest thing for me to do is adopt their argument. I've done that before on many occasions.

So, if you want to tell me your arguments I'd gladly listen. If I disagree with them I'll do my best to deconstruct and refute them of course but to me it's just a game of polite intellectual chess... I don't go around insulting people or bringing them down. If both sides come out of the debate having learned something then both have gained.

Personally, I don't like the idea of the Atheist Watch site because it sounds like if you're not doing it out of hatred, you're doing it out of bad faith. If you believe in God then you're lucky because you have a crutch that I don't have - is it possible to use it to forgive those who have wronged you?

It's not something that I'm familiar with but I do admire people who derive so much strength from their faith - it fascinates me.

'm really sorry to hear about all the abuse that you suffered from these people. No-one deserves it at all. I can only hope that I haven't given the impression of being that way inclined.


you have not. I keep forgetting blog people are better. Neither you nor John Loftus nor any of the blogging atheists at DC have come out like that.

I always try to understand other people's arguments - if you don't do that you can hardly argue with them effectively, and take them seriously. I don't like it when people get personal or insulting because, in my opinion, the first person to lose their temper loses the debate by default. If someone presents a better argument than mine, the intellectually honest thing for me to do is adopt their argument. I've done that before on many occasions.

I try to be that way. I do slip and fall into a debate mode which can be taken for insulting. I think it's basically just my crusty but lovable nature.

So, if you want to tell me your arguments I'd gladly listen. If I disagree with them I'll do my best to deconstruct and refute them of course but to me it's just a game of polite intellectual chess... I don't go around insulting people or bringing them down. If both sides come out of the debate having learned something then both have gained.


I don't think you do. I will exchange arguments with you. I'll go on your blog and you can come on to mine. I also have message boards if you care to do that.

Personally, I don't like the idea of the Atheist Watch site because it sounds like if you're not doing it out of hatred, you're doing it out of bad faith.

I considered that. I am putting ideas and arguments on there too. I may change the name if I can think of a better name. I had one called "fundie watch" and so atheist watch was equal time. But I got rid of fundie watch because no one ever read it.


If you believe in God then you're lucky because you have a crutch that I don't have - is it possible to use it to forgive those who have wronged you?

It's not a crutch. I want to believe it is possible to forgive them. That's part of my world view. I am working on it. I don't feel it but I'm trying to do so without the feelings and maybe the feelings will catch up latter.

It's not something that I'm familiar with but I do admire people who derive so much strength from their faith - it fascinates me.

interesting. there are good people in all walks of life. There are some wonderful atheists I know.

I left a new comment at your "hate site" Joe...;-)

This blog is used to drive traffic and attention to "the Atheist Watch". I would like to know what the other members of the Christian CADRE think about "the Atheist Watch" blog. Is it a hate site? Do you (silently?) approve it, condemn it or don't care about it?

CADRE member J.L. Hinman thinks that you are responsible of the action of anyone in your social group. Do you agree?

-Peter

Peter,

I think the AtheistWatch site is Joe's blog, and it's Joe's choice to have a discussion on the topic. Personally, I have some problems with the concept, which I've told him already in private. On the other hand, I'm a universalist which is by far a minority position on the site, too (so far as I can tell).

No, I don't think it's a hate site (yet). I understand why there are concerns about this, though. I also understand why Joe is doing it, too, I think. He has been attacked verbally, very hard, for many years, in many places, for not much good reason (other than to provoke him into reacting to it); by people who represent what he used to believe, btw.

And conditions on the net are generally getting worse instead of better. Moreover, some authors have become recently popular rhetoricizing what could otherwise be considered hate-language (of the sort picked up and used by Matthew Murray for instance), which isn't going to make things any better. On the other hand, they aren't yet advocating people drive nails into kids heads for being witches (or more sophisticated forms of mental surgery thereof); so there's that in their favor compared to some recent Christians in the news. {wry grimace}

If we can tolerate having someone post at length on the boards, who is doubly attracted to eliminating the concept of good and evil, then I think there's room to tolerate Joe who at least is still concerned about good and evil and who also like Ben (to my knowledge) isn't driving nails into kids' heads yet (so he has that in his favor, too. {g}) Nor do I remotely expect this to happen in his case, ever.

I am on extremely public record elsewhere, about the dangers and results of hate-language, and certain hate-doctrines for that matter, among Christians, fwiw. (An Associated Press press release counts as about as extremely public as I'm in a position to financially achieve at this time... {g})

JRP

Besides which, he and Ben seem to be getting along better now. You might ask Ben why?

JRP

Herm,

{{All JD is doing here is suggesting that atheists have no poetry in them and offering a list which, at best, is a cheap caricature of non-theistic thinking.}}

Out of curiosity, did you consider Ben’s culminating discussion of “consistent moral theory sans god” to be a caricature (cheap or otherwise) of non-theistic thinking?

{{This says nothing about the underlying reasons for moral reasoning or ethical behaviour.}}

You mean you aren’t familiar with any of those things in JD’s list as being underlying reasons for moral reasoning or ethical behavior?

Wait, sorry, apparently you are; so it isn’t that JD was being inaccurate in his listings. It must be something else that’s the problem:

{{Any exposition of such reasoning is inevitably going to sound dry and dispassionate, whether its from a humanist or a Christian or any other perspective.}}

True; but I didn’t gather that JD’s own problem with the list was that it sounds dry and dispassionate compared to the hymn’s lyrics. In fact, I didn’t gather that this was Peter or Ben’s problem, either. I gathered their problem was that JD was making atheism look like it “tends to nihilism” “leads to immorality and abandonment” “is nihilistic, empty and amoral” maybe that it is “angry”. And I sort of gathered that JD thought he was suggesting at least some of these things, too.

All of which sound about as dry and dispassionate as Nietzsche. {lopped g}

JRP

Ben,

Thank you very much for your detailed and literate comment, btw. {s!} I had a great deal of appreciation for it.

{{I suspect you've misunderstood my point, which was to say that though we have evolved our propensity for social skills, these themselves do not operate on evolutionary principles.}}

No, I understood you to be saying that well enough the first time; and I was replying to this notion in my previous comment: the problem is a clear disjunction between explanation types. Our social skills are operating on evolutionary principles and only on principles similarly commensurate with the constitution of behaviors in an atheistic reality (in various ways), if atheism is true; regardless of whether or not we make reference to those-and-only-those principles in whatever ethical systems we come up with. Nevertheless, when faced with the source-possibilities for our social behaviors as they actually are-and-can-only-be under atheism, reflective people usually discern that their own morality and moral judgments (at least) must be qualitiatively different from those behaviors; or else they ‘see through’ the illusion to the (obviously non-moral) reality and so reject the illusion of morality. (Except perhaps insofar as it makes a useful social game to take advantage of other people’s lapse in understanding so as to capitalize on those other people’s mistaken idea that there are in fact intrinsically moral behaviors.)

In your case, I take it, you affirm that human morality is (or at least can be) qualitatively different from the recognizably non-moral behaviors on which our social conduct is based (or at least from which our social conduct historically developed). Thus you deny that this social conduct is subject to that which produced/produces it. Clearly you recognize the disjunction has to be made somehow in order to keep from identifying the moral social behavior with the recognizeably non-moral behaviors it is a product of. (Roughly speaking the other two non-theistic strategies would involve either admitting the ultimately illusionary nature of morality, as exemplified above, or else trying to claim that the productive behaviors are intrinsically moral somehow after all. Either of these alternate strategies recognize a methodological and/or conceptual problem with proposing such a qualitative disjunction under the broader claims of the worldview, and so involve denying the disjunction one way or another.)

{{For example, though one may build a fast car very slowly, one drives it fast. That's not a great metaphor}}

I agree. {g} Your illustrative metaphor should involve using quick or slow movements (either one) to build a car that can move quickly (or move slowly either one, backwards or forwards or whatever direction) from a process involving no-and-only-no movements at all. That’s the kind of vast disjunction of behavior quality compared to productive process you’re talking about.

Or again, replacing topical pointers per your illustration attempt: though we have built a fast car slowly using principles of movement, those fast movements themselves do not operate on movement principles.

Or again, a little more piquantly {s}: this is supposed to explain the necessary divide between the Darwinism from which our social skills come, and the flawed idea of social Darwinism. Um, no, it doesn’t remotely explain why putting Darwinism into social practice is a flawed idea if our social practices were Darwinian products (much less are still constituted by Darwinian behaviors.)

The obvious difference (or one obvious difference) is that Darwinian behaviors are fine and proper enough when real personhood isn’t involved, but become improper somehow when real personhood is involved. But this impropriety would be, at the very least, an amazing claim to make if ‘personhood’ as a set of behaviors derives from-and-only-from Darwinian (and similarly non-personal) behaviors (much moreso is still constituted by-and-only-by such behaviors.)

{{I suspect you'd struggle to find many atheists who advocate the latter.}}

After experimentally discovering the vast human misery inculcated (so far) by implementing it as an ethical code, I would hope that that is true; but vast human misery as a result does not really explain why atheists would reject it. Or rather, it does not explain why they would accept it as a principle explanation of actual history but reject it as a practice of actual history.

The end result is that anyone (atheist included) can recognize survival-of-the-fittest and similar Darwinian behaviors as ground for Nigerian ‘evangelical’ Christians capitalizing on the torture and killing of children as witches (to take a current hot-topic example); and anyone (atheist included) can also denounce it as being only Darwinian behavior improper for people to be engaging in, recommending instead that those persons ought to be behaving in a rational and charitable interpersonal fashion instead.

But ‘rational and charitable interpersonal relationship’ is explicitly an orthodox Christian concept, insofar as a ground of reality goes: i.e. the (singular) overarching ground of all reality is itself an actively coherent interpersonal relationship of mutual support. Or, put much less technically, God intrinsically is love. (This is why it makes technical sense, by the way, for orthodox Christians to borrow an old Germanic word for ‘good/god’ as a proper name for the deity upon which everything in existence depends for existence.)

The overarching ground of reality is not in fact that way, on the other hand, under any other proposable worldview.

In ideal effect, then, everyone (including atheists) will be most reasonably and strongly criticising those Christians (and wanting to take forcible action to stop them if necessary) for being not Christian enough.

The difference is that some of us then go on to try to claim that orthodox Christian theism is true, and everyone else (put simply) goes on to claim that something else is true instead. (Or else perhaps that at best we cannot believe Christian theism to be true and there is no point behaving as if it is true, or anyway that even its recognition or provisional acceptance would not make any logical difference in how we ought to behave toward each other.)


{{I would suggest that if a humanistic train of thought cannot satisfy you a posteriori, you needn't immediately jump to a priori theism.}}

Atheism and theism are a dichotomy, though. If atheism cannot account for something in principle, then it would be logical to look to theism. (I was talking about atheism and naturalism--which incidentally are two different types of claim--not about some subvariant of atheism such as non-agnostic secular humanism.) If I clearly need to be including movements in my account of building that car, then a theory including only no-movement-behaviors isn’t going to work. I’ll need to shift to a theory that includes movements in it somewhere. Some subvariant no-movement-theory is still going to be a no-movement-theory, though it admittedly might look like something different with some creative squinting perhaps. {s}

{{One should exhaust rationalism first}}

I was talking about atheism, not about ‘rationalism’. Nor would I be leaving rationalism for non-rationalism by moving from atheism to theism (especially in this manner--by rational analysis). One might suppose, on the contrary, that I might be doing something more congenial to ‘rationalism’ per se by affirming rational action (of some kind) as the ground of existence! That non-and-only-non-rational behaviors should somehow constitute a behavior set identified as ‘rationalism’, instead, seems rather like some kind of hidden joke.

It is actually by rationalism that I arrive at theism (and onward through increasingly particular categories of theism). It isn’t because I can see nothing in the gap, but because I can see something instead of a gap. You could say that it is because I see that scientific inquiry (studying behaviors related to system X) and ethical inquiry (studying behaviors related to system Y) are vastly different in some real fashion (see your earlier point {s}). Not that I would actually start with ethical inquiry--see my recent journal post here for where I would start and why. (Several hundred pages prior to when I would start discussing ethical theory per se, incidentally. But there turn out to be reasons for why ethicality throws such a flag of difference compared to avowedly ‘natural’ behaviors.)


{{Would you agree that it would help us to redefine our question as "Where does our sense of right/wrong come from?"?}}

Certainly!--but you have already told me in effect (see your earlier points {s}) that you do not believe they can come from merely natural behavior and still be properly moral. Our “sense of right/wrong” “do[es] not operate on evolutionary principles”--or insofar that it does, it is not to be identified as correctly corresponding to an apprehension of morality. Social Darwinism is “flawed”; though peculiarly the “necessary divide” must (you think) be located between social (operation of) Darwinism and social behaviors produced through operation of Darwinian principles. I agree with you about the “necessary divide”; but my rationality tells me that trying to introduce a necessary divide into a conceptual equivalency, is the wrong place to locate that divide.

(Incidentally, I am not entirely sure how an argument can be sound yet also not necessarily valid. You do not mean logically sound, then? Possibly you mean that the premises are in serious dispute, or that though logically valid the conclusion is still fallacious by inflation of a premise into an apparent conclusion amounting to the same thing as the premise. These would or could be definite disqualifiers for the argument per se, but wouldn’t be the same as the argument itself not being necessarily valid.)

In any case, I am not a proponent of Kantian philosophy or metaphysics (except by occasional happenstance convergence perhaps), and I would have no use at all, in several ways, for an essentialist fallacy (or any other kind of essential fallacy {g}) that nevertheless provides a premise for moral thought (Judeo-Christian or otherwise).


{{A more fundamental problem is the question of morality as a prescriptive or a descriptive system of ethics.}}

One might go even farther (as I do), and consider the question of morality as a system of ethics per se to be a fundamental problem. (I was trying to explain this to Peter in an earlier thread here, to which I think I still owe him some reply, btw. {waving in Peter’s direction!} I think I’ve ended up spreading out elements of that reply into subsequent posts, though.)

As far as I can tell, a system of ethics is supposed to be about morality; not constitutive of morality. This leads me to do some things quite unexpected to some opponents, such as having no problem seriously respecting various codes of ethics outside of my own religious tradition (an atheistic Buddhist code, for example {waving at Peter again}{g}), while denying that the Torah (or any ethical code per se) is itself an objective moral ground in any ontological sense. (In biblical parlance I could say the same thing by stating that the letter of the Law kills; it is the Spirit behind the Law that gives life. As a question of metaphysical analysis, the debate is over the existence and characteritstics of that Spirit.)


{{I'm attracted by the emotivist school of thought which links nicely to memetics and developmental psychology. Of course, it renders morality as subjective and personal.}}

It also renders morality identifiable (at most) with those Darwinian behaviors you were so eager to disassociate morality from. So it wouldn’t be only Christians who would be objecting to this. (Not entirely sure I would even need to bring in the categorical imperative against it to show m.relativism to be internally inconsistent. Let it be consistent; it still isn’t morality, and that’s the key problem we’d be agreeing on.)

{{We're left therefore with the rather attractive idea of morality as a form of Aristotelean or Epicurean rhetoric}}

Don’t have much regard for morality as a form of rhetoric either; it’s only attractive in the sense that I might use it to manipulate other people into doing what I want, regardless of the objective truth of the matter: truth becomes a pragmatism tool at best. But this is regularly identified as being unethical!--or amoral anyway at best. (It also opens directly up to social Darwinism again; he or she who is most rhetorically efficient at getting other people to do things, gets the advantages and effectively ‘deserves’ them. Rhetorical might == right. It’s attractive the same way dark enchantment is attractive: addict, or succumb to addiction. Either one can be pleasurably attractive.)

{{What is doubly attractive to me is that this eliminates the conception of "good and evil"}}

So... your rejection of social Darwinism as flawed had nothing to do with morality in any conception of good and evil? That’s kind of... interesting...

Thus, when you complained to JD, “You make the assumption that Atheism tends to nihilism, and you imply that it leads to immorality and abandonment”, you meant it leads to amorality? “Obviously your hymn is a spoof and it's silly to read a lot into it, but it depends on the idea that atheism is nihilistic, empty and amoral.” Well, no, you complained about that notion, too, there... (Or maybe it was only the nihilism and emptiness you were complaining about; the amorality was on target? Because you have to know that JD, at least, was connecting morality with some concept of good and evil; thus amorality would in JD's understanding involve an elimination of the concept of good and evil.) “It could be that people like yourselves have heard that Humanism is a way of qualifying morality without a god.” JD obviously had heard that some humanists have a way of qualifying morality without good and evil, though. (“make me an instrument of Machiavellian social appeasement [...] where there is sadness, a utilitarian, pragmatic compromise”) You weren’t objecting to those parts then? “[A]ny book that espouses hate will simply not be taken seriously [in Europe]. It'd be like trying to get reasonable people to agree with Mein Kampf or Leviticus!” Not that this rejection has anything to do with good and evil, though? “If you go ahead and actually meet some of these people, you're more likely to meet with friendly, reasonable conversation rather than hatred.” Which might seem ethically ‘good’ in some way, but it would be “unhealthy” to mistake it for that? “Should one feel additional shame for the holocaust because one has blonde hair and blue eyes?” Not entirely sure why someone should feel any shame about that at all, except merely insofar as the perpetrators might feel ashamed they got defeated--it isn’t as though there was any applicable concept of evil to be ashamed for in cooperating with the holocaust, right? “That's not Christophobia or Antisemitism because it does not imply hatred of Christians or Jews as people, only incredulity at their beliefs.” Like their general agreement about believing the holocaust to be ethically evil, by and large (or altogether), for instance?

{{Of course, this is all a description of the many paths I could go down to show that morality sans god is not inconsistent.}}

True; I pointed out as much myself in that long series of posts I linked to.

It also apparently isn’t moral, though. {s} It’s special, but not in any real way.

That may not be a problem for someone who is okay with eliminating the concept of “good and evil”; but then, you are going to have an extremely difficult time afterward convincing me that your ‘ethical’ criticisms have anything to do with good and evil (so long as I remember this).

I don’t actually want to believe that you’re advocating eliminating this concept; but then, it was the conception of good and evil (per se) that never sat quite right with you when you were a religious Jew (so you say). Whereas, it isn’t the elimination of the concept of good and evil that’s not sitting right with you; you’re doubly attracted to that elimination instead.


{{It would make more sense I think now for you to propose the link between morality and god and how exactly it functions.}}

I discuss this at systematic length here and afterward, although I strenously recommend starting back at the beginning of that series and working forward instead; rather more tangentially (though relevantly) here, more directly but still briefly (yet with some comprehensive comparison) here. (Starting about halfway down the entry; search for “But what (it may be reasonably asked) does any of this have to do with apologetics?” I discuss it somewhat in the comments, too.) I’ve discussed it elsewhere in various comments over the years, too--including a mention in this comment already (and to which you may have already replied by the time you get to this point in my letter. {s!})

However, I can foresee a very practical problem looming in any discussion of a link between morality (which you know I’m going to be thinking of in some kind of terms of good-and-evil) and god (or God, rather.)

Because any attempt to involve good and evil in a discussion of morality, is going to be doubly-unattractive to you.

Thus (and because of a lengthy letter already, and because it’s 10:40pm here and I haven’t had dinner yet {sigh}{s}), I’ll stick with the links for now.

JRP

I like this one, thanks for showing the contrast.

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