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God likes you better if you’re a white missionary

That old selective God is at work again, doling out random miracles to some while flipping the divine bird at others. Story at CNN about a plane crash in the Congo, which some members of a missionary family survived by crawling through a hole torn through the fuselage by another survivor desperate to escape the wreckage. Naturally, they credit the Invisible Space Fairy for their survival.

Marybeth Mosier, 51, suffered a black eye and bruised ribs, said her husband, who added that he was unhurt.

“We couldn’t believe that our family of four could all escape a plane that was crashed and on fire, but by God’s mercy, we did,” he said.

Mosier said he believes the family made it for a reason.

“I think the Lord has a plan for us, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived,” he said. “He still has work for us to do.”

Regarding the 36 people who died in the crash, Mosier had no opinion. Obviously God had no plan for them nor any work for them to do, so they were no great loss. Probably black too.


Okay. I admit it. That last sentence was a cheap shot. As stupid and offensive as I think it is for people to think they’re privileged by their deity of choice over others, obviously, there’s no basis to think there’s anything racist about these missionaries, since they are, after all, over in Africa doing something they think is a good thing for the locals. Living in America surrounded by the racist ravings of right-wing sleazebags, it’s easy to slip into the unfair “these bad apples over here spoil the entire batch” view. One set of absurd beliefs does not imply the person subscribes to another set as well.

Comments

  1. says

    You apparently feel the need to project your (latent?) feelings of racism onto other people, but where did the survivors ever say anythg about their ethnicity in the article you cite?They’ve been there 8 years! How much time have YOU spent helping Africans? They speak Swahili well! How much do YOU know about Tanzanian culture? And you get to imagine criticisms over imagined evil thoughts that they have? Where did the family say that God DIDN’T have a plan for the others who died? That they rejected the idea that such a plan could be complete now, b/c God doesn’t love black people enough even to have a plan for them? False dilemma. You demonstrate again that you are driven more by hatred of Christianity than most anythg else. The primary driver is not rationality; else you wouldn’t have even posted this, or if you had you would have made some other comments. Disgusting.

  2. says

    Well, I for one am grateful that those who survived the crash did survive and my heart goes out to the families of those who did not.It is natural for people to try to find meaning in tragic events, whether they be Christian missionaries surviving a plane crash in Africa or nomads in China blaming the drying up of lakes and rivers on Chinese settlers angering the local gods. We all have prisms through which we try to view and interpret reality, so as much as I might disagree with the missionaries crediting their survival to the intervention of god, given their belief system I couldn’t expect them to react any differently.

  3. Martin says

    I won’t deny that I hate Christianity as much as any other religion, Rho, in part because, in addition to being a steaming load of superstitious twaddle, it allows people to think they are the privileged servants of their deity, one who allows them to survive a tragedy while others die because God considers them “useful.” (And what else could that imply but that God did not think the ones who died were as useful?) Frankly, I find that attitude of privilege disgusting, but you obviously give it the thumbs up. Fine. If you have evidence to present that the belief there’s an all-powerful universe creator up there bestowing favors upon some people over others is the more rational view to take, by all means, present it.You point out that this missionary family has been in Africa 8 years “helping Africans.” “Helping” them to do what, exactly? Become Christian? As much a waste of time as I might think that is, the fact is I wasn’t criticizing their 8 years of “missionary” work. I was criticizing their belief that they survived a plane crash that killed 36 people because of divine favor. Again, if you think they have the “rational” view here, please explain it. Otherwise, I will continue to be disgusted by those who feel themselves divinely favored over others.(Besides, if this omniscient, omnipotent God really thinks these missionaries are doing such vital work, wouldn’t he have foreseen the crash and prevented it happening altogether? Darn it, there’s that pesky POE again.)

  4. says

    I have no idea what they were doing, Martin.The article doesn’t say. But you seem to have had no problem assuming that they were over there hating black people. Whether their faith is rational is not the point OF YOUR OWN POST.I think you should take a step back, take a deep breath, get over yourself, and try to see this more calmly. You look like a fool here.

  5. Martin says

    Yeah, I’ll cop to the last sentence being a cheap shot. Just because people hold to one set of asinine beliefs (about being divinely favored) doesn’t mean they hold to others. And as Tommy pointed out, given the beliefs they’ve held all their lives, there’s probably no way they could think anything other than that they were divinely favored to survive the plane crash. The implications of what that means for the 36 people who died probably don’t even occur to them, since their moral compass doesn’t really point that far.

  6. says

    I pretty much agree with you, Tommy, and I wouldn’t have a problem with it if they just thought privately “thank you god for sparing my family.” Except it doesn’t end there, does it? deluded people love to trumpet things like that, as loudly and obnoxiously as possible, it would seem, as “irrefutable proof of the Lord’s infinite mercy” or some crap like that. All while ignoring the fact that it apparently wasn’t merciful enough to save all the other people.It’s the classic “Heads, we win; Tails, you lose” pathetic mentality of religious apologists. There’s no way for their mythological creature to come out looking like it screwed up. What Rhology failed so miserably to understand is that when an atheist says a phrase like “god must not care about black people” doesn’t mean that we’re accusing theists of saying that. We’re just following the same logic they are to its conclusion and trying to show how little sense it makes. Which, of course, prompts the Christian to fall back one of the most moronic copouts known to man: “THE DIVINE PLAN.” Right, it’s all part of a super-awesome, top-secret celstial layout that it will totally make sense when you die.That, however, doesn’t stop believers from praying to have things go their way… but what about the plan then? >_> Why pray? why go around saying praying works if in the end, It will do whatever the hell It wants?.

  7. says

    Adrael,All this emoting over a god that you don’t even think exists?Besides, you keep throwing these moralisms around but your atheist worldview can’t account for them. Mercy is neither good nor bad – why not just be consistent? At least you’d have some respectability!And in one sense, it all doesn’t make sense and won’t TO ME even when I die. But it does to God.In another sense, I already understand a great deal why this plane crash happened and why some died and some didn’t.And only those who don’t understand the biblical teaching on prayer pray “to have things go their way”. Partly you’ve misstated the truth in your ignorance, partly it’s others’ fault for not expressing it to you. But you have some responsibility to at least know what you’re responding to.And Martin,We’ve seen over and over again the failure of your moral compass to point ANYwhere, so I don’t really get where you have the ability to lecture anyone on moral compasses. Peace,Rhology

  8. says

    My understanding of it is that the act of prayer is supposed to be a demonstration on the part of the person praying that they recognize that god controls everything or something along those lines.

  9. says

    See? Tommy demonstrates that it’s possible. He got it more or less right.It’s the forging of a relationship between God and the believer. It’s communication. Therein the believer’s desires and will come to be more closely aligned to God’s will and the bonds of love are strengthened.

  10. Martin says

    Well, yes, because obviously, it’s perfectly right and moral to think that God marks you for special treatment over others and lets you survive tragedies that kill others because you are more “useful,” and anyone who is offended by this obviously has no moral compass at all.I love having no moral compass! Oh look. A child just walked past my house. Better go rape it and then cannibalize its corpse. (Oh wait, I better make sure the Pope’s got my back first… Maybe I’d find having no moral compass easier if I found a big rich church to join… or an isolated compound in the desert… decisions decisions)

  11. says

    Of course, Martin never tells us whether he’d be justified in raping that child or why, he just tells us THAT he won’t do so, thereby completely evading my compass critique. But everyone already knew that he wouldn’t commit the rape. Thanks for nothing, quite literally.Peace,Rhology

  12. Martin says

    BTW, did anyone see anything at all in that compendium of Bible-babble that Rho linked to that explained why the plane crash happened? I mean, I thought there’d be something there like a technical report on instances of engine failure or something. Instead, it just looked like the usual list of security-blanket scriptural quotes to let believers continue to convince themselves there’s a sky-father looking out for them when there obviously isn’t. “A thumb to suck, a skirt to hold,” as Isaac Asimov once wrote.I’m still waiting for this consistent, rational explanation of Christian belief Rho says is there to manifest itself. Maybe when the poor guy cools off a little bit, he’ll pull it all together.

  13. Martin says

    But everyone already knew that he wouldn’t commit the rape.Of course, Rho. Thats because I have a moral compass! Duh!If you’re the sort of person who cooks up justifications for raping children — like fundamentalist Mormons or pedophile priests, say — then you don’t have a moral compass, you have justifications.Some people don’t have to have certain things explained to them, Rho.Thanks for nothing, quite literally.Hey, you get what you give.

  14. says

    “I think the Lord has a plan for us, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived,”Has a plan implies survival.Therefore, via transposition:No survival implies no plan. … by God’s mercy, we [escaped]“God’s mercy implies escape.Therefore, via transposition:No escape implies no mercy from God. The people on the ground did not escape, therefore by logic (twisted theistic logic) they recieved no mercy from God. These people make me sick.

  15. says

    Martin,Yes, I need you to explain some things to me, like how you know that raping that kid would be bad. Call me names all you want, just answer the question. NAL,Or God had a DIFFERENT plan for those who died. God had a different kind of mercy on the others who died. In particular, His mercy was in not destroying them the moment of their first sin, or indeed from birth. And it is mercy that gives us all breath every second of every day. And it is mercy when He brings His people to Heaven. His mercy ends only with the lives of the unrepentant. False dilemmas are a classic fallacy, which seems to be you Ath Exp guys’ stock and trade.Peace,Rhology

  16. Martin says

    Yes, I need you to explain some things to me, like how you know that raping that kid would be bad. Call me names all you want, just answer the question.Have you ever walked into a store that sold expensive, high-end goods, and asked the snooty saleslady how much something is, and have her look you up and down with disdain and scoff, “If you have to ask how much it is, you can’t afford it.”This is a similar situation: to wit, if you have to ask why it’s bad to rape a child, you wouldn’t understand. I pity you, Rho. I really do.Perhaps you think the only reason it’s bad to rape a child is that it will draw down God’s wrath. Maybe not. If the only reason you think things are good or bad is because there’s a God who makes up “do this, don’t do that” lists and doles out rewards or punishments accordingly, then, well, I hope that’s working for you. Those of us who base our morality on concepts like empathy, altruism and reason, rather than the need to mollify a scary authority figure so he won’t hurt us, will probably prefer not to keep your company.If “Don’t hurt others, especially if they’re weak and defenseless, because you sure wouldn’t like to be in their shoes” isn’t enough for you, then I fail to see what more I can say to help you.Or God had a DIFFERENT plan for those who died. God had a different kind of mercy on the others who died. In particular, His mercy was in not destroying them the moment of their first sin, or indeed from birth.So the people who were killed in the crash, in fact, got what was coming to them, and they should only consider themselves lucky that, being such worthless pieces of shit in the first place, God had sufficient mercy on them not to murder them outright from infancy. Got it.Well, now I guess I’m starting to get an idea of why you don’t think hurting children is a big deal.What a swell guy your God is. All you have to be is the biggest, scariest bully in the universe, and you get to determine what’s right. Swell racket.And the odd thing is, I bet you still think you’re the moral one around here.I pity you, Rho. You make me sick to my stomach. But I pity you.

  17. says

    For those of you keeping score at home, that was 1 consummate evasion of a question and 2 blatant strawmen for Martin. Not a bad night’s work.

  18. Martin says

    I keep forgetting it’s hard to get past your functional illiteracy, Rho. Repeat: I know it’s wrong to hurt children because I possess empathy.Here’s where I said it the first time, since you couldn’t grasp it:If “Don’t hurt others, especially if they’re weak and defenseless, because you sure wouldn’t like to be in their shoes” isn’t enough for you, then I fail to see what more I can say to help you.I’ll try more one-syllable words next time. That should help. Maybe some crayon drawings, too.In any case, I can see where “empathy” would not be a sufficient answer for you, as it’s not a quality you seem to possess yourself. And before you whine “straw man” again, allow me to quote your passage where you make this clear. Regarding the 36 victims of the plane crash, you wrote:God had a different kind of mercy on the others who died. In particular, His mercy was in not destroying them the moment of their first sin, or indeed from birth.So whereas we find the loss of these 36 lives tragic, your reaction, as summed up in this passage, is to shrug and declare that the three dozen dead were lucky to have been allowed by God to live past infancy at all, and so their deaths should not only not be met with sympathy but considered yet another act of mercy by God. Now, I think most of us here consider the idea of a randomly smiting God rather grotesque, let alone the idea that such wanton killing should be thought of as just a “different kind of mercy.” (I’ll try that argument next time I’m pulled over by a cop. “I wasn’t speeding, officer, I was simply employing a different kind of slowness.“) But you’re cool with it, evidently, and I think that calls your basic empathy into question. Hey, I tend to be a stickler for these things. You can blame my dodgy moral compass.

  19. says

    Rho, why do you need any of us to explain to you why we believe that raping a child is wrong?Why isn’t it good enough for you that we simply believe it is wrong? You don’t have to agree with our reasons, nor do we require you to. It never ceases to baffle me why some people such as yourself seem to care more about the why instead of the what.Put it this way. Say one night you are driving by yourself on an isolated stretch of road and your car breaks down. A short while later, I happen to drive by, see your dilemma, and offer to drive you to the nearest town. During the course of our conversation while I am driving, you find out I am an atheist after quizzing me about whether or not “I have accepted Jesus.”Since I have clearly gone out of my way to offer assistance to you, are you really going to care why I helped you? Or will you be sufficiently grateful to think “Well, while it troubles me that he is an atheist, I am glad he at least seems to be a decent person who went out of his way to help me.”?

  20. says

    I’m still trying to figure out how chimpanzees come up with their social rules. After all, without The Divine Chimp Lawgiver to come down from the mountain and explain to them exactly how they should behave, I’m wondering how they manage at all. They do things like share food, cooperate in hunting, mutual grooming, and socially punishing chimps who “misbehave”.Without the Chimp-God putting his divine stamp on their rules, why don’t they have anarchy?Shucks, maybe there is more to human moral structure beyond “Sky-Dad told me not to.”But try telling that to someone who is so mentally welded to divine-command theory that any alternatives to it are completely alien.

  21. Martin says

    Tommy, to the Christian fundamentalist, the question of why is profoundly important, because a major element in their map of the world is the notion that right and wrong are inconceivable, even unintelligible concepts without reference to divine authority. For someone who rejects their religion to be a moral person is a paradox, and so they hammer on the “why,” usually in an effort to establish that even unbelievers must, in the end, “borrow” their notions of right and wrong from Christianity, as there can be no secular guidelines for such concepts. Rhology has said as much here and on his blog (though of course he’ll accuse me of strawman arguments again), where he’s mocked the idea of secular morality as merely based on “personal preferences,” which are necessarily shakier than morality rooted in “God’s laws.” It’s silly, but it’s how these people think.So yes, he needed to ask me why I think it’s wrong to rape a child, because he was hoping to catch me out in an admission, however indirect, that I needed some recourse to “moral absolutes” (ie, “God’s laws”) to believe it is wrong. I didn’t fall for it (as rhetorical traps go, it was clumsy enough that it might as well have been labeled with a neon sign), so naturally he beat a fighting retreat and told me I evaded his question.You get familiar with the rhetorical strategies after a while.

  22. says

    Rhology: Or God had a DIFFERENT plan for those who died.But that’s not what these assholes said or implied. “I think the Lord has a different plan for us, otherwise we wouldn’t have survived,”That sounds so much better, not as condescending to those who died. It’s still a load of superstitious nonsense, but it’s more respectful of those who didn’t survive.

  23. says

    Tommy,I want you to answer the why and how questions b/c they’re important. I want you to justify your moral statements in view of the fact that you are atheists.Martin,You have empathy, OK. *WHY* is acting on the basis of empathy morally commendable (ie, good) and not acting on the basis of empathy not morally commendable (ie, bad).Heck, any atheist can take a stab at this one. I’d love it.

  24. says

    NAL sneered:But that’s not what these assholes said or implied. Is it really too much to ask for a little decency towards the survivors of a traumatic plane crash whose young son’s leg was broken in the escape?Sheesh.Martin, where’s your empathy now? Mind asking NAL to can it?

  25. says

    I have empathy for the 12 year old boy on the ground who burned to death. I have none for those who claim some special divine worthiness for their survival, and by implication no divine worthiness for those like the 12 year old boy. Do Christians, based on their belief, lack empathy? If one believes that the death of the 12 year old boy was God’s plan, and one does not question God’s plan, on what basis does a Christian feel regret over the boy’s death?

  26. says

    “*WHY* is acting on the basis of empathy morally commendable (ie, good) and not acting on the basis of empathy not morally commendable (ie, bad).”For crying out loud.Because hardly any human being WANTS to live in a society where his fellow humans don’t have empathy towards him. Do you? An empathic society is a better place in which to live than one that isn’t. Do you really need this explained to you?Humans almost universally prefer life to death, pleasure to pain, freedom to slavery, comfort to discomfort, safety to danger. All human societies are experiments on how people can live together and receive benefits from living in groups. Some work better than others. Hermits don’t need “morals” because they don’t come in contact with or influence other people.The reason society says (for example) murder and theft are “bad” is because nobody in their right mind wants to live in a social construct where such things are permitted. If my neighbor can jump the fence and kill me or steal my property at any time without repercussion, that society won’t be a very pleasant place in which to live. It’s anarchy. I give up the right to murder my neighbor and steal his stuff freely in exchange for the promise that if he tries to do the same to me, he’ll be punished by the group.All social animals have rules of behavior, and humans – being the most complex social animal – have the most complex and varied societies. That’s why human societies tend to have basic rules in common, and on the margins things vary from place to place. I’ll ignore the fact for the moment that religions can tend to hijack things and instruct people to do things that are “bad” (and call it “good”) because they think some god wants them to – like sacrificing babies on an altar so the crops will get enough rain this year.None of this requires any supernatural being to instruct us how to behave. The chimps don’t need one, and our morals don’t require one either. There isn’t some cosmic notion of “good” or “bad” floating out in space somewhere against which we measure things. There are only actions and consequences, and the consequences of our actions give them the quality of “goodness” or “badness”.This really isn’t rocket science.

  27. says

    As if this makes up for or even interacts with your absolutely thoughtless expression last comment…We who believe the Bible don’t base our morality on empathy, but rather on what God has revealed about Himself. Just FYI.divine worthinessYou’re so full of it. You’re reading into the comments from the family from ONE ARTICLE.They gave credit to GOD for saving them, not to their own goodness.what basis does a Christian feel regret over the boy’s death?B/c that boy had the potential to be a blessing to many and now that blessing is lost.B/c death is the result of sin and is an enemy. As Christians, we can treat death as an enemy, one that has been conquered and will be thrown down someday, perhaps soon.As atheists, it’s just a step in natural selection. It is meaningless. Peace,Rhology

  28. says

    Because hardly any human being WANTS to live in a society where his fellow humans don’t have empathy towards him. Do you?Sure, I want to, but history and modern times are full of those who don’t.Now, you’ve given me one step (which is more than Martin has done, so thanks for that). Next step – morality is not just about judgments on action but of thought. Is it right for me to think/desire X? So, is it right to think that empathy is the basis for moral action? Is it right to want to live in society? Why or why not?Peace,Rhology

  29. says

    Is it really too much to ask for a little decency towards the survivors of a traumatic plane crash whose young son’s leg was broken in the escape?This coming from a guy who not only believes that we are going to suffer torment and agony in the afterlife but will tell us that we deserve it too.I want you to justify your moral statements in view of the fact that you are atheists.No disrespect intended, but none of us are under any obligation to justify anything to you. What makes you so special or important?As for me personally, I would be happy to discuss what I believe and why, if it really matters to you. That is, if you are capable of engaging in discussion rather than debate, as you seem to feel the compulsion to turn everything into the latter.

  30. says

    Very funny, Tommy. Yes *I’M* the one turning everythg into a debate. This is a debate blog.Blogger is free – go start another blog called atheistsandtheistsholdhandsandhum.blogspot if you’re so inclined.And don’t feel obligated to justify your statements. This is only for those who believe that their beliefs are defensible and would like to try.More milquetoast?

  31. says

    “Sure, I want to, but history and modern times are full of those who don’t.”There’s a small percentage of people who are incapable of empathy, and we call them sociopaths. They’re very dangerous to society. We tend to lock them up because they often indiscriminately hurt other people. Again, you’d rather live in a place that took such measures, and so would I.”Next step – morality is not just about judgments on action but of thought. Is it right for me to think/desire X?”Let’s say I have a desire to get a million dollars, so that me and my children can live in more comfort and safety than if I didn’t have it. If I follow the rules of society and “earn” it, very few people will call it “bad”. If I decide to get it the quick and easy way by robbing a bank, my fellow citizens are going to have a small problem with that. The consequences of the desire always color the morality of it. Thoughts by themselves aren’t crimes unless they lead to real-world consequences. If I want something that I have no way of getting under any circumstances, I can do two things: Break the rules of the society I live in and take my chances, or leave and try and find another place to live that will let me do what I want. The second option might be completely closed by the way, which means the only other alternative is not acting on my desires at all – as the consequences of doing so would be more negative for me than not doing so.That’s what I mean when I say all human societies are experiments in living together. They aren’t all identical.”Is it right to want to live in society?Why or why not?”The reason why people have “society” at all, is that people derive benefits to themselves by living in groups. We’re social animals anyway, so we instinctively do this. Even without instinct, this premise is so obvious it shouldn’t need an explanation. Nobody forces you to stay in society. people do it because they’re getting something out of it. You are too if your refrigerator’s full.If you don’t want the benefits of comfort, safety, etc, that you get from society, you are perfectly free to go off into the desert or the jungle completely by yourself. Or take your last dime and have a helicopter drop you off on a deserted island. You can then have the immense pleasure of never having contact with another person, and completely fending for yourself in regards to food, shelter, protection from animals and the whims of mischance. If you get a disease, you’re on your own – no doctor.If you want that sort of existence, Knock yourself out. It’s not “wrong” for you to want to live completely by yourself. But all the benefits you get from society will disappear. Most people don’t want that, and consider the dissipation of societal benefits to be “bad”.Get it?Imaginary Cosmic Floating Good never comes into it all. Religion can either codify the beneficial rules you already have and give them more “oomph”, or it can do the opposite and tell you to do something destructive because someone is convinced it’s divine will.The point is you’re pretending your man-made rules come from god, and non-believers simply aren’t pretending. I’m not repeating the Euthyphro Dilemma here. It’s been talked out. Look it up if you don’t know it.

  32. says

    Wow, how Christian of you. I offer the chance to engage in a discussion and you insult me for it.Not everything has to be a debate Rhology. I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe. No debate is going to change that. People who have different points of view can communicate with each other without shouting “strawman!”, “begging the question!” or “logical fallacy!”. But I suppose it is more important for you to gratify your own ego by racking up debate “victories” than to actually just talk to other people.Later dude!Tom

  33. says

    Rhology: B/c that boy had the potential to be a blessing to many and now that blessing is lost.That which was the cause of regret is regrettable. If you regret the boy’s death, and the boy’s death is the result of God’s plan, wouldn’t you also find God’s plan regrettable?

  34. says

    Kingasaurus,You haven’t made a case that it’s WRONG to be a sociopath, just that most people dont’ choose to be.That’s your problem – your “morality” can only be descriptive, not PREscriptive. No ought, just is.Let’s say I have a desire to get a million dollarsFine, but now I’d like to know 1) whether it’s morally right or wrong to desire to get a million dollars, and2) how you know that.I’m trying to get to the first step here – telling us how you judge Desire X right or wrong will get us closer.I don’t care about how others will react. I want to know the rightness and wrongness of these questions.Religion can either codify the beneficial rules you already have and give them more “oomph”, or it can do the opposite and tell you to do something destructive because someone is convinced it’s divine will.Well, that’s just a naked assertion, and I deny it.Euthyphro DilemmaI don’t believe, nor does the Bible teach, the divine-command theory, so the dilemma is inapplicable.Tommy,I insulted you? Where? Is this a lovefest or is this a blog whose virtually every post is an assault on theistic something-or-other? If you don’t like it, you’re welcome to go somewhere else (which I’m cool with, BTW).NAL,Rather, the death itself is regrettable.If you regret the boy’s death, and the boy’s death is the result of God’s plan, wouldn’t you also find God’s plan regrettable?Well, that’s a good question, I’ll give you that.God’s decree is the ultimate cause, but the efficient (?) cause is the plane crash. God’s decree is the decree of a perfect, omniscient being. It is the definition of good. The plane crash results in death, which is, like I said, an enemy. Human sin has allowed death into the world, and one day death will be gone. God Himself will redeem His people.DeplorableWe’ve seen over and over again an atheist’s inability to sustain a moral statement like that, and you can’t keep your hands out of the cookie jar. It’s funny to watch, actually.This may well be my last comment here – we’re so far off from the original post and we’re getting atheists gushing emotional moralisms all over the place that their worldview can’t sustain. My shoes are getting sticky from the gushings, and I don’t like that. Kingasaurus, I prolly won’t respond to your answer to my questions unless it be in another blogpost, but consider this your big opportunity to go where NAL, Martin, and several others have failed to go when questioned. Here’s to clear thinking.Peace,Rhology

  35. says

    “You haven’t made a case that it’s WRONG to be a sociopath, just that most people dont’ choose to be.That’s your problem – your “morality” can only be descriptive, not PREscriptive. No ought, justis.”It’s wrong to be sociopathic because WE COLLECTIVELY DECIDE that it is. Sociopaths recklessly hurt people. Often people they don’t even know. Do you like to be hurt? Would you like a complete stranger to stab you or shoot you on a whim? Me neither. The idea that you need some kind of supernatural justification for that is ludicrous and hopelessly naive. If you run into a group of people who would prefer to live in a society where sociopathic behavior is the norm, you’re welcome to them.”Fine, but now I’d like to know1) whether it’s morally right or wrong to desire to get a million dollars, and2) how you know that.”It all depends on my method of getting the money, and what I’m going to do with it. I mentioned my purposes for the money in the last post. Having a thought in your mind isn’t anything unless it leads to real-world consequences, as I said. Other humans will judge my actions. There is no one else.”I don’t care about how others will react. I want to know the rightness and wrongness of these questions.”You don’t care? How my wants and desires inform my actions and then end up affecting other people is the only thing that can possibly matter! How “others will react” is the only way we can possibly decide these issues. You live in a sea of other humans who are affected by your decisions. Again, you’re falsely assuming “rightness” and ‘wrongness” exist independently of the behavior of human beings, floating out there in the divine ether. It’s a phantasm you can’t demonstrate, and it’s clear what we call morality isn’t dependent upon it. Once again, chimps have complex social rules but no god-belief. Where’d that come from?New Guinea natives think it is morally reprehensible to eat eggs because eating the unborn goes against their religion. Is the evilness of egg-eating completely arbitrary? If so, is that because the particular invisible friend that you believe in doesn’t think its wrong? Their invisible friend begs to differ. You see the problem you have with God-doesn’t-like-that morality. It’s a sandcastle because different people have different gods, none of which are demonstrable.You’re still on your own. At least be honest about it.”Religion can either codify the beneficial rules you already have and give them more “oomph”, or it can do the opposite and tell you to do something destructive because someone is convinced it’s divine will.Well, that’s just a naked assertion, and I deny it.”Deny all you want. I only have to look back to 9-11 to find devout people perfectly willing to kill thousands of strangers because their god wanted them to. The fact that it isn’t your particular god in this case doesn’t matter. Pretending divine-sanctioned destructive behavior doesn’t exist is a wild and laughable stretch, even for you.”Euthyphro DilemmaI don’t believe, nor does the Bible teach, the divine-command theory, so the dilemma is inapplicable.”Wrong again. The fact that people of your ilk try to weasel around the problem by saying God’s will can’t contradict God’s nature is immaterial. Since you have no answer as to why “God’s Nature” is the way it is rather than some other way. The arbitrariness at the heart of the claim doesn’t go away.If God’s Nature/Will was different than what it supposedly is, would we still call it “good” no matter what?You’ve simply moved the problem away one step and think you’ve solved it. You haven’t, except perhaps verbally. God’s Nature or will, doesn’t matter. You’re still stuck with “It’s just is what it is” in either case.

  36. says

    “All this emoting over a god that you don’t even think exists?”Ah yes, the pathetic “If atheists don’t believe in God, why do they write so much about him?” card. Of course, the answer to this “dilemma” has been stated ad infinitum: the reason we “emote” over God is because of the consequences of religious belief, the way it makes people think and behave as though they’re specially privileged by an invisible superhero-guy, the way it makes people slavishly give themselves – even against their better judgement – to something that requires blind faith, and all that entails. Strange how fundamentalists don’t pose to themselves the similar question: “If I don’t believe in evolution [among other secular "myths"], why do I care so much about it?” No, it’s always the evil atheists who are projecting their frustrations and their self-denial onto others, not the know-nothing religionists who think they know more about the universe than the world’s leading scientists. This doesn’t even rise to the level of idiocy. “In another sense, I already understand a great deal why this plane crash happened and why some died and some didn’t.”No, you PRETEND to know. There’s an enormous difference. Of course, your world-view gives you no tools whatsoever for distinguishing between the two, because they have become so hybridised that they are no longer seen as even being different. “And Martin,We’ve seen over and over again the failure of your moral compass to point ANYwhere, so I don’t really get where you have the ability to lecture anyone on moral compasses.”As Christopher Hitchens has said: religion attacks us from the very outset in our deepest integrity, by saying to us that we’re basically just worthless pieces of shit who deserve to die because of our dirty, sinful nature – and yet, in the next breath, it tells us “But wait! There’s good news after all”. If you make yourself a slave to the celestial dictator, you can live in his company for the rest of eternity. At heart lies a desire to be a serf, to have others tell you what to think and how to behave. This is why religious morality is fake morality: it is COMPLETELY dependent upon the whim of a dictator, who is worshipped even to the negation of our own worth (it’s the fundie who thinks humans have no worth, by the way, not typically atheists). Atheists are free to come to a human-centric notion of morality that benefits human beings for their own sake, with none of the slavish bullshit that passes for “ethics” in the drawling, vicious hate-speech that emanates from fundamentalist propaganda mills. The fundamentalist, when espousing his view that without God, humans are nothing and that humans need a surveillance camera in the sky to behave nicely towards one another, is merely espousing his utter, total contempt for the human race, and perhaps his inner hatred of himself. There’s something obscene about this way of thinking, the way it reduces people to mere pawns in a great “plan”. The hypocrisy doesn’t stop there, for we also find that the fundamentalist has bestowed upon himself – surprise surprise – the title of God’s spokesperson. Suddenly, his self-hating ravings are to be “respected”, because he is not really speaking his own (self-confessedly insignificant) mind, but rather is acting as an agent of the only thing in existence that isn’t a piece of filth in the fundamentalists’ warped vision: the dictator himself. Even while the fundie claims that humans are “limited in their world-view” and are incapable of formulating a viable ethics for themselves (ignoring the example of Scandinavia), the fundie himself is, somehow, at the same time smart enough to know what this extra-dimensional, infinite, inconceivable being actually wants.Instead of a drawling nit-wit, the fundie is now to be seen as a moral professor, espousing great “troofs”. He then places himself on a rhetorical podium upon which to pontificate to others what the truth is. No sooner does the entire edifice of religious apologetics collapse in a tangle of contradiction, than it is resurrected in an orgy of self-promotion and fake “insights” provided by people claiming to have special knowledge because they have read a Bronze Age text written by nomad mystics. “Of course, Rho. Thats because I have a moral compass! Duh!”Exactly. Rhology, on the other, while he does have a moral compass, feels that only through a NON-HUMAN entity can this compass actually mean anything! It’s pathetic and contemptible, I know, but that’s exactly what he thinks. That anything could ever mean something to us as human beings, with our range of emotions, hopes and fears, our capacity to love and to empathise, and our ability to feel pain and hurt and to understand what it means for others to feel them too, is apparently completely insufficient for Rhology. He wants it to be ordained and made concrete by having Sky-Hitler make it “objective”. Such is his disdain for humanity. Humans are only worthy of existence in so far as they are mindless slaves. Heck, Rhology ain’t missing out on his chances at getting into heaven on account of some pesky intellectual and moral integrity. That stuff’s only for losers who don’t want to get with the program. “Or God had a DIFFERENT plan for those who died.”Have you ever heard that saying “A theory that explains everything explains nothing”? If something can be bended to account for absolutely anything – if it’s so elastic that it can be stretched to provide “explanations” for anything at all that happens and will ever happen, with no criterion for judging when it might be wrong – then it’s not an explanation. Religious apologetics is extremely elastic; whenever someone survives, it’s because God wants them to continue doing something. If they die, it’s because God has “another plan”. What is this plan? an atheist might ask. Mysteeeeeeeeeeeerious waaaaaayyyys – stripped of all the scriptural crap – is the standard intelligibility of the response. We’re not “meant” to know (conveniently). And who can argue with that? We’re pieces of shit, after all. We don’t even deserve to live. Religion has all bases covered, then. Any contingency is instantaneously turned into further “proof” for God, and anyone who doesn’t like it is a God-hating Osama-loving communist homo-abortionist Muslim Darwinist liberal Evilutionist. I don’t know, maybe God is actually a cosmic rubber band? He can be stretched wider than Silvia Saint. On the question of morality: if you DEFINE morality from the outset as what God wants, then NOTHING an atheist can ever say will convince you that they are taking a moral stand. You’ve shielded yourself from any rebuttal by that definition. So your question is itself worthless, because you don’t even acknowledge categories of morality outside your divinely-ordained belief system. Anything outside that belief system will necessarily lack the prerequisite of “God said”, so it won’t mean a thing to you. it’s quite disingenuous of you to even ask the question when you already know that’s the case. Of course, this is no reason for anyone to actually fret. I, for example, don’t base my morality with a view to justifying it to people who have no real conception of it in the first place. The thing is, though, that fundies want God to be the final arbiter of what counts as moral (because God says so, and, once again, who can argue with that? It says so in the Buy-bull). Why does God want us to act in certain ways and not others? Why does it sadden him that humans kill or rape each other (to the extent that it does sadden him, when he’s not actually ordaining these actions)? What is HE basing these things on? Or does he not base them on anything? Or perhaps his morality is based on his intrinsic properties or self (that’s when he’s allowed to have properties). But God is “unknowable” and he works in “mysterious ways”. So in other words, you have NO IDEA what you’re actually basing your ethics on, except that it goes by the name of “God”. This is beyond laughable; it’s utterly deranged. Co
    mpletely backwards and demented. “B/c that boy had the potential to be a blessing to many and now that blessing is lost.”But hang on, I though that people deserved to die from all their sinning? What does it mean “to be a blessing”? To serve God? Why is that “good”? Because it serves God. “As atheists, it’s just a step in natural selection. It is meaningless.”Well, there’s no “ultimate” meaning to death. It’s something that happens because of life’s contingencies. It obviously means something to us when someone dies, but that doesn’t mean that death has any cosmic significance. If a comet were to wipe out the Earth tomorrow, the universe would carry on just fine without us. Only the narcissism of the passionate religionist could imagine that it was all made FOR us. In conclusion, I think that you, Rhology, are either stupid or just disingenuous. You’ve certainly no more leverage to talk about morality than anyone else (even less, in fact), and your “objective basis” for it is completely superfluous, because you yourself have no idea what that “objective” reality actually is, being a sinful and limited human and all.

  37. says

    Rhology: God’s decree is the ultimate cause … God’s decree is the decree of a perfect, omniscient being. It is the definition of good. God is the ultimate cause of that 12 year old boy’s death, and you think that death is the definition of good? You need a new dictionary.

  38. says

    “God’s decree is the ultimate cause … God’s decree is the decree of a perfect, omniscient being. It is the definition of good.”In other words, I was right: it’s a complete waste of time trying to argue with you on the issue of good, because your ONLY criterion for judging whether something is good is whether it accords to God’s mysterious will. Well, since humans can’t in any way be “good” in their own right, then, why should it matter to us what God thinks? If we have no standard by which to judge that something is good or not, then how can we judge that going along with God is good, since that concept is supposedly foreign to us, leaving us with no reason to go along with him in the first place? Do you see how you’re just equate the two words without adding any further understanding? If, on the other hand, we’re to follow God through fear of being punished, then that’s just dictatorship. But that’s at least consistent with the sycophantic mentality of fundamentalism.

  39. says

    I remember when I said outloud at the age of 5 yrs old that my God was colored. Yeah I was once called that {smile}.My church going auntie who truly loved me more than Life itself said, “Don’t you ever say that again God will send you to Hell.” I’m laughing right now, that repelled right off of me I couldn’t buy it even at that young age.I grew up Atheist my bestfriends grew up Christians and we still remain friends.Too me God has been used to tell anyone that is not a white person that we/they aren’t as good, we’re not as loved.Christianity and organized religion is very abusive – I choose to have no part of it.Love your blog, glad I found it.

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