Teh emailz, we gets dem »« A short, off-topic post showcasing one reason I fear for humanity

A Blasphemy Against Humanity

The Austin American-Statesman yesterday ran a New York Times editorial by Nicholas D. Kristof. It began:

“Karachi, Pakistan–Afterward, they comforted each other with the blasphemy: ‘It was God’s will.’”

So, how could I not be intrigued, especially because most Christians I know have a vague notion of god as all-powerful, all-knowing, and the creator of all things, that would make the phrase “it was god’s will” a logically inescapable conclusion and necessary description of any event occurring in this universe. I had the feeling that whatever Kristof would describe would be absolutely within the realm of this “god’s will”–according to the model of god most believers seem to put forward. But I wanted to see for myself, so I read on.

Not surprisingly, I was correct. The story is about the family politics of a pregnant woman’s husband–and the politics of many women’s families in this region. The $3.75 ride to a hospital was considered far too extravagant when the time came for the baby to arrive. Lest your sympathies get the better of you, one aunt said that if the family had known the child was going to be a boy (which it was), they’d have paid far more for the cab fare. It was less a question of poverty than one of concern. No the family is not well off, but their logic was that it was silly to waste money on a hospital.

While the article was more about a misogynistic society (which I feel sure a fundamentalist religion based on the great “He” doesn’t help), I kept looking for the “blasphemy” in the statement about god’s will. After the child dies (the mother lives), the mother is devastated, and the father says, “It is God’s will. There is nothing we can do.”

I agree with Kristof’s call of “bullshit” on this one. But where is the blasphemy if I were to call myself a believer? As a nonbeliever, I want to call this one blasphemy against humanity, if there can be such a thing. Certainly it was our will for this child to die–humanity’s will. It could have been avoided by human intervention. It was not necessary in a purely human world without gods. But the child died. And humans are responsible. To say that what humans do and allow–whether good or bad–has anything to do with gods is a blasphemy against our own species. But it’s no blasphemy against god. If god is what people claim god is in many cases, it’s a reality–a truth–to call any event “god’s will.”

Did god create everything–a universe where we cannot escape cause and effect? If so, this child’s death was written into the “stars” (if you will) the moment the singularity popped, or the moment he spoke it all here 6,000 years ago. If he didn’t create it, he’s off the hook. If he did, he killed this child as surely as the child’s own family.

Does god know everything? Did he know what he was doing? Does he understand the universe or not? If he built it and had so little understanding of what he was doing, he’s off the hook in much the same way a mentally challenged person might be off the hook for a double-homocide. He still caused the harm; he’s just too irresponsible to be held accountable for what he caused. If god built it and understood it–this god has no excuse. He actually produced the universe in such a way that this child would die, and either did not care, or meant it to be so.

Does god have the power to alter anything in this universe or impact human events? If god was aware of this child’s plight, and was able to intervene, but did not, then he’s just as guilty as the family members (ironically it was the men in the family) who felt the hospital was the best place for this mother, but did nothing to enforce their preference. If there is a god who is aware, cares at all, and can help, who does not, then this child’s death was as much that god’s choice as the family’s.

Is it blasphemy to say god is not the creator? God is retarded–as gods go? Or that god lacks the power (is too castrated) to intervene in our lives?

Does our society truly embrace a god that keeps players safe at sporting events, but can’t be expected to help a woman in difficult labor to be healthy and well and have a live baby in the end? It sure looks that way.

When I say “god did not create the universe,” or “there is no god that is all powerful and gives a care,” or “there is no god that knows everything”–or “there is no god,” I’m sure to be lambasted by Christians everywhere for my arrogance and, well, blasphemy. They may not call it “blasphemy” much in these times, but that’s what it is and why it offends so many believers to say such things.

Who gets to say what is blasphemy in the world of believers? To many, It’s blasphemy to claim god doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the whole universe, as Kristof implies. But to Kristof, when one injustice occurs, it’s blasphemy to say god had any knowledge or power to alter events. What sort of ineffectual god does Kristof imagine, I wonder? I have to think he imagines something, because he brought up the “god’s will” phrase twice in a small article, and called it a blasphemy both times; and the story itself had precious little to do with gods, and everything to do with humans and human society.

I wish he would have clarified it was only a blasphemy to humanity, and could not possible be a blasphemy for any god model that would matter in this universe. I wish Kristof would have explained what he means by “god.” But he did neither, unfortunately. But I think, disappointed as it makes me, he meant it in the same ludicrous apologetic way we hear it used all the time: With god all things are possible, but, somehow, helping an infant, unable to help itself, was way too much to ask–way beyond god’s scope.

It’s called having your cake and eating it, too. And it’s logically impossible. But try telling that to someone who’s been sufficiently indoctrinated. If that is really what Kristof meant, he’s as guilty as holding to irrational, unhelpful beliefs as the culture he’s writing to criticize. Like many Christians, he would be promoting that it’s OK to devote some part of one’s worldview to a logically inconsistent, impossible god who helps us not at all–and credit that god with all things good while blaming humans for all things evil. And that sort of hosed up religious belief is a part of the foundation that ultimately killed this child of a Muslim world, isn’t it?

Perhaps instead of writing about gods and blasphemies, he should have “kept it real” and just said, “People could have helped this child. People did not. Dragging god into this as a ‘will’ or a victim of ‘blasphemy,’ helps us not at all. It adds nothing to this equation that can only possibly examine what people can do, what they did/did not do, and what other people could have/might have done to impact the reasons for these poor choices and tragic outcomes.” And if I can add, reasons like holding to irrational beliefs about women and gods that led to this child’s death.

I’m not sure how much impact a writer like Kristof can have in cutting the rope of irrationality that holds these people to unhealthy decisions, while he’s involved in actually braiding more of that same rope. It’s not reasonable to condemn real-world injustices that are the result of a god model I personally support.

I can’t know that Kristof doesn’t have some minority deistic ideology. But I can know that many people reading what he wrote–and he would know this as well–are interpreting it as, “That’s right, my loving creator-of-all-things, all knowing, all powerful god would never allow something like this; how dare anyone blame this evil on god.” It would escape them that the fact that this event actually occurred should be evidence that, if their god model exists, it would and did allow such an event–and therefore becomes logically inconsistent and, tah-dah, nonexistent. But I will almost guarantee you that hundreds of
thousands read his column, held this model of god, and condemned this “blasphemy” in like manner. They want their cake, but they want to eat it, too. And that’s impossible. And the scariest part is that no matter how much you try to explain that eating the cake will result in the cake being gone, they will insist that you are the one who simply does not get it.

To some, unfortunately not so small degree, it truly is a mad world.

Comments

  1. says

    It really irritates me when I'm talking to a believer and they credit their god for all things good and blame humans for all things bad. Or when humans can't possibly be blamed (say, for an earthquake) the believer retreats to the position "it was God's will", completely dodging the question and not even stopping to think "Hmm, maybe my God isn't so wonderful after all. He did just kill all these people with that natural disaster…". It frustrates the hell out of me!Earlier this year I was having a series of discussions with a close friend who happens to be a fundamentalist Christian. To help explain her beliefs, she sent me a short paper that she wrote for English class while she was in college about Hurricane Katrina. It was very interesting to read and went something like this.* My friend rejects the claims of numerous Christian leaders that God was punishing the "sinful" city of New Orleans.* She searches for answers to support her own belief (that God is wonderful and would never hurt a fly), beginning with scientific explanations for how such a deadly hurricane could have formed, pointing to research in global warming and humans polluting the environment.* Not being completely satisfied by a scientific answer, she the tries to look to the bible and other Christian leaders for answers, eventually feeling satisfied in believing that Katrina is a result of Adam's original sin.* She realizes that whether or not her god created Katrina, he did allow it. But blatantly asserts that he did so because "he wanted to see good rise from the disaster".So there you have it. Anytime this god character does or allows something evil to happen, it must be because he/she/it has a grander plan and something very good will happen as a result of the event. The effects that such a mindset have on one's consciousness are alarming at best and terrifying at worst. I once asked the same friend that if her god appeared before her and told her to go murder as many children as she could in a nearby elementary school, would she do it? With almost no hesitation and with a very confident sound in her voice she answered "Yes, I would". And I presume that she would do so because of her deluded ideal that anything God does or asks is ultimately and unquestionably an act of good even if it "appears" evil to us ignorant humans. Yes, when it comes to God we should all just turn off our brains and our ethics, and become mindless servants who never question this authority figure. It makes me sick to my stomach whenever I think about this dogmatism. I wish that people would apply the same set of logic and understanding toward their god as they do everything else in their lives.

  2. says

    Kinda reminds me of a quiz question I saw on the internet a while ago:You are a product tester and frequently bring your work home. Yesterday, while dressed in a flame resistant suit (up to 3,000 degrees) and carrying the latest model fire extinguisher, you discover your neighbor's house is on fire. As the flames quickly spread, you stand and watch your neighbor's new baby burn to death. Which of the following best describes your behavior? 1. All-powerful 2. All-knowing 3. All-loving 4. MysteriousandA great sadness has come into your life which you feel you cannot bear. A friend informs you of a free counseling service which has never failed to aid and comfort many others. You call the counselor; the phone rings and rings with no answer; you finally hang up. What is the most likely explanation? 1. The counselor is sitting by the phone but not answering in order to test your faith in him 2. The counselor always stands ready to hear your pleas for help, but sometimes the answer is "no" 3. The counselor will not answer because he wants you to profit by the spiritual strength that only comes through suffering 4. The counselor is not home

  3. says

    Tyler, when I retook ethics (because the first was nothing more than a sermon by the fundie minister teacher) the whole took a quiz. One of the question was if God commands it is it right.I was the only one who said no, and then I asked if God ordered the death of babies would it be good? No one answered and we quickly moved on. Gee, I wonder why?As for you friend, wow. Just wow. If I were you I would not be her friend again. Who knows when the voice in her head decides to do you in because you are a dangerous heathen. Seriously, her mind set is the same as the guy who held up the sign that read 'behead those who say Islam is violent.'

  4. says

    @AtheistUnderMask: Yes, I have found that whenever you ask believers a question that makes them uncomfortable such as you did with your killing babies command, usually they will fall silent. I don't know what they are thinking when this occurs but I have a few theories.1. They don't have an answer and are actively seeking for one that makes sense and shows that the god's action is actually good, but fail to find one and so can't think of what to say.2. They realize that the command from God actually -is- something bad. But because they define their god as nothing but good, an internal conflict erupts in their mind and they are unable to reconcile the evil action and the good god.3. They think the question itself is wrong because "my god would never do that". Therefore it doesn't even merit a response since the unbeliever clearly doesn't understand that they are asking an invalid question.If they're not silent, they will usually start coming up with convoluted statements and assertions for how the action could be good. There are some that feel like they have to continue running their mouth for the defense of their god, even if they aren't thinking about what they are saying before they say it (and in my experience, they usually don't). But never, not once, have I had a discussion with a believer who paused, gave it some thought, and said "you know what, if my god did that I guess he wouldn't be completely good". That thought never crosses their mind and for someone to even suggest them disturbs them.As for my friend, a few months ago I had to seriously ask myself if I should continue being friends with her. I actually did bring forward that question to her, asking how I was supposed to feel safe knowing that she could try to murder me at any moment if her god asked her to (after all, nonbelievers should be put to death…its in her beloved literal bible). She fell silent and never answered my question, not surprisingly. But I don't believe in her god myself. I believe that her god is really just a product of her subconcious, and she likes me very much and I trust that she personally would never want to kill me. So as long as she doesn't suffer a mental disorder or becomes convinced by an authority figure that I should be killed, I'm not worried. And really, if those conditions happened to a nonbeliever friend they would also pose an equal danger to my life. So I don't think its a valid argument for deciding to end a friendship with a believer. I decided to remain friends with her and I'm glad I did. We just don't talk about this stuff anymore (even though I would like to) because she gets really upset when I ask these sort of uncomfortable questions. I wrote about all of this in my blog a few months back.

  5. says

    Tyler Olsen,So your problem is that your friend (or others) could not answer the question of basic theodicy to you properly?Also, your question really brings another question to mind and its just a hypothetical. What if there WAS a God and he DID ask you to do something you felt unethical? So really what you are left with isa) You WOULD do itb) Argue against itc) It wouldn't happen since God would not ask to do something unethical and hence the question itself is absurd and unfair.If you posit that there IS a God to ask such a question out of left field, then your question is actually admitting to the existence of a God.So really, the same question can be given to you as well.

  6. says

    @Holy Hyrax:When my friend says "yes, I would murder children" I think I am justified in feeling unsatisfied with that answer. Wouldn't you? And I don't think the question I ask is invalid or irrelevant at all. On the contrary, there are numerous examples in the bible where God asks a follower to kill. The examples are numerous and range from a single person close to the killer to a large group of people. And yes, there are many examples of God commanding that children be put to death. If the bible was nothing but preaching about happiness, peace, and love, I wouldn't be so passionate about this argument.As for your hypothetical question, if some god does exist and appeared before me, I would become a believer. But that doesn't mean I would turn off my sense of right and wrong and yield complete submission to that god. If I was asked by a god to kill children. I would say no, it is as simple as that. Killing innocent people is wrong. Personally, I think the only justification for taking one's life is if that action would save another life.But asking my question does not mean or even begin to imply that I believe there is a god. The reason I ask the question is that there are people in this world that believe in a false god. There may be a god, but we have no idea which god is the true one. Christianity may be wrong. Islam may be wrong. Hinduism may be wrong. Clearly, there are many people in this world who believe in and worship a false god. And many of those believers also claim to have received some form of communication from that false god. If that god does not exist, then the "communication" they experienced must be of their own consciousness or misinterpretation of some natural phenomenon (for an example, google "Jesus cheeto"). Therefore, what these believers think about their god has implications for their behaviors and actions in the real world. And those can result in disastrous consequences not only for the believer, but for innocent human beings. For example, 9/11 or the parents who let their child die last year for refusing to take her to the doctor, instead relying on "healing through prayer". Because believers are a part of this world and interact with others on a regular basis, I am justified in asking this question and trying to make them understand my position even though I personally believe that no gods exist.

  7. says

    When my friend says "yes, I would murder children" I think I am justified in feeling unsatisfied with that answer. Wouldn't you? And I don't think the question I ask is invalid or irrelevant at all. On the contrary, there are numerous examples in the bible where God asks a follower to kill. The examples are numerous and range from a single person close to the killer to a large group of people. And yes, there are many examples of God commanding that children be put to death. If the bible was nothing but preaching about happiness, peace, and love, I wouldn't be so passionate about this argument.a) I was referring to your examples of hurricanes etc. Of why would God send some natural disaster to kill innocent people. This is an ancient question.b) Your question once again to your friend supposes a God DOES exist, not that she BELIEVED a God simply came to her in a dream. IF a God LITERALLY came to you, you may have said to him that you would not do it, but then again, you don't know that would you? I do think that the question is absurd since God never in the bible simply came out of nowhere and asked to just kill joe shmoe. I don't remember, and I can be corrected on that.And I know you don't think God does exist, but my question was simply if he DID exist and did come to you.The reason I ask the question is that there are people in this world that believe in a false god. There may be a god, but we have no idea which god is the true one. Christianity may be wrong. Islam may be wrong. Hinduism may be wrong. Clearly, there are many people in this world who believe in and worship a false god. And many of those believers also claim to have received some form of communication from that false god. If that god does not exist, then the "communication" they experienced must be of their own consciousness or misinterpretation of some natural phenomenonWell, i agree regarding just some delusional man that thinks he got a message. My question to you was simply a philosophical one of what WOULD one do? It isn't necessarily a question given to just a religious person. I agree also that religion CAN make people do bad stuff. That is for sure. But I wouldn't judge believers harshly because they can't give you some indepth explanations about the workings of a diety (ie by your natural disaster example).There is a Jewish saying that goes "If I knew God, I would Be God"

  8. says

    Also, lets not forget that being a theists is not the same as being one to follow a particular religion. And any theist, basically by definition would believe in a wonderful God. Makes no sense to beleive in a cruel God would if one is a monotheist right

  9. says

    Just to inject briefly into the Olsen/Hyrax discussion:The question Olsen is getting at is something like this:In 1 Samuel 15, god instructs genocide, including mass infanticide–to go to war and kill not just combatants, but also children, and specifically even babies (and all the livestock as well).In today's market, this would be a war crime on the level of Hitler or Hussein. If god asked you to take part in this–to run through infants on a sword–would you say "sure thing"?The dilemma this creates is that we have no means of gauging what is right/wrong or good/bad, but via what we observe. In other words, what reason could I give for supporting I'm on the side of right in supporting a god that condones mass killing of innocents? _Why_ do I insist this god is "good" and I should follow this command, that by all means I can muster seems "bad"?In the Christian community, the Christian Olsen is describing is the one who says that _anything_ god instructs is necessarily "good," and the question is: If the god was not good, and this is how you think, how would you know you're not following the dictates of a malevolent god with evil intent toward humanity?Unless the god could provide sufficient moral cause to kill these infants, the Christian is simply obeying, without any means of knowing whether they are on the side of "right." They are simply accepting this command as "right" without question or consideration. And that sort of blind faith is dangerous, especially when I admit I would do _anything_ I was asked, believing it was "right" without any justification whatsoever that it actually _was_ the right thing to be doing.

  10. says

    "When someone pulls through on the operating table it's a miracle. When they die it's malpractice" ~Gregory House (paraphrased)

  11. says

    "And any theist, basically by definition would believe in a wonderful God. Makes no sense to beleive in a cruel God would if one is a monotheist right"The Gnostics believed in a malevolent creator god. "God cannot be good because of all the crappy things that go on. And God can't be malevolent because if he was he'd just make the air out of acid. Therefore god is fictional."

  12. says

    @ The News story posted."..an ambulance was only called once the girl had stopped breathing."And that should be all the prosecution needs to bring up. Their faith lasted just as long as she was actually breathing. If they were true believers why didn't they pray even HARDER when God tested their faith by stopping her respiration?

  13. says

    Personally, I think it's a good thing to ask a theist what _(s)he_ thinks is right regardless of whether it is or is not in that set of things their god would do or not do.And I mean push on it _hard_, don't let them get away with "well god wouldn't ever do X", "X is a very efficient way of accomplishing Y", etc. Insist that they tell you whether X is _right_ _and_ insist that they justify their answer.I'm currently involved in a debate with a friend of mine on a similar topic (the ethics of Laissez Faire policies in health care) and he's pulled out every trick in the book to avoid having to justify his moral position (X is the most efficient/effective method, X has been done forever, X is less brutal than Y, etc).Believers very often _do_ have the capacity to make moral judgments independently of their beliefs and just as often don't realize that they're doing just that as they pick and choose their favorite biblical passages and reject the rest.Even they are often shocked when you point it out to them ("if you'd never read the bible, would you really kill your neighbor?")…..

  14. says

    Thanks for sharing that news story, C. I remember when that little girl died last year and I'm happy to see that both parents were convicted of killing their daughter. I shared the link on my facebook page as an example of why I am so vocal against organized religion and my old high school coach (who is a pretty religious person) had this to say."You can't blame religion for one man's stupidity…..well you can, but that wouldn't be much brighter. It's not religion you need….it's relationship."To which I responded"Is it stupid then for him to believe that what the bible says is true? In Matthew 17:20, Jesus clearly asserts that anything is possible through prayer. The subject of that passage is about healing through faith."

  15. says

    "b) Your question once again to your friend supposes a God DOES exist, not that she BELIEVED a God simply came to her in a dream.IF a God LITERALLY came to you, you may have said to him that you would not do it, but then again, you don't know that would you?"Well, how would you know it's a god? By what metric would you even be able to recognize it as such?See, here's the problem with this kind of question: in order to even ask it, you have to first conceive of something that you can reckon as a "god". You can't talk about it without some kind of concept of it.That brings up the same host of problems believers have – how are you able to discern the whatever it is to actually be a god and not something else sub- or not-god? If one person conceives It to be X and someone else conceives It to be Y, who's right? etc….Isn't all this impossible mental gymnastics anyway almost by definition due to the nature of the concept and the fact that our perceptions – our only methods of detecting our surroundings – are limited?So yeah I also think this is kind of a nonsense question. Because it can only be based on something _we_ are capable of defining, which can't be anything that we might call a "god" I don't see how it can really yield meaningful answers.OTOH, I'm not sure if the moral standards that _are_ extracted from this kind of questioning are indicative of anything or not. The woman who responded that she really would kill children if (her concept of a) god came and told her to do it is answering within the context of a highly spurious and unreal proposal to begin with. But I will admit that it is very highly disturbing to me that someone could even think of massacring children under _any_ circumstances at all, even as extreme as the ones proposed. I too would be a bit shy of maintaining a friendship with someone that has thoughts like that knocking around in the heads….LS

  16. says

    >In today's market, this would be a war crime on the level of Hitler or Hussein. If god asked you to take part in this–to run through infants on a sword–would you say "sure thing"?Well the story in Samuel is against Amalek. I tribe that the only reason they were to exterminate them was because they were always waring with Israel. This is shown in the book of Exodus as well as in I believe Samuel. So its not really a fitting example of God coming and simply saying "Hey Bob, I want you to kill Ed over there for me," as was Tyler's example. I agree with you definetly that today, it would be considered a war crime. But in those days, that was not the case. Different times, different ways of dealing with threats. I believe the way we look at children is not the same as was looked at children through most of human history till even recently.

  17. says

    Well the story in Samuel is against Amalek. I tribe that the only reason they were to exterminate them was because they were always waring with Israel. This is shown in the book of Exodus as well as in I believe Samuel. So its not really a fitting example of God coming and simply saying "Hey Bob, I want you to kill Ed over there for me," as was Tyler's example."a) Hussain only killed ethnicities in Iraq because they were always causing trouble for his order. Thus justifiedb) Isreal invaded their land by the book's own admission (Jericho?) they came and invaded and started taking land. c) Doesn't matter. IT'S STILL A FUCKING HORRIFIC ACT! I'm shocked you didn't argue that the Isrealites are blameless because the other tribes were just asking for it. Why else would they be wearing those short togas?""I agree with you definetly that today, it would be considered a war crime. But in those days, that was not the case. Different times, different ways of dealing with threats."No. It was the case, they just didn't recognize it. A is A. Hitler would not have been a good man if he was born 3000 years earlier. Strom Thurmen would not be a good man if he was born 50 years earlier. Regardless of whether it was accepted or not, we learn from our ancestors past actions and ERRORS, so as to better redefine our understanding of right and wrong. Regardless of it being "different times" they already had the rule "Thou Shalt Not Kill/Murder". Nice of them to SUBJECTIVLY abandon it whenever it's convienent. Now it becomes "Thou Shalt Not Kill…unless they totally deserve it or you don't like them…they worship the wrong god, ect""I believe the way we look at children is not the same as was looked at children through most of human history till even recently."Yeah true. That doesn't make it right. Hey the way we looked at black people through most of human history is far harsher than today. You think the lynchings of 1920 and such were ok because of how they viewed it? God said such things are right. Either God is wrong and thus is not infallible. God is right, and thus your morality makes you a monster in the eyes of the civilized world. Or God changed his mind and thus all morality is subject to the whims of a historically malevolent or at very least amoral cosmic horror. Can you honestly tell me that beating a baby's skull in with a rock, or cutting open a pregnant woman's stomach is ever a justified act? Even in war? Would you do it if God appeared to you and told you to? I hope not…"just following orders" is not looked upon favorably.

  18. says

    I've heard theists say things like "God wanted that baby with him in Heaven" and always found that kind of creepy too. As if infant death is some kind of special treat.On the other hand, I have heard more scholarly theists talk about the god's inscrutability. (Apparently, the only difference between inscrutable and capricious is faith). There may be a slim possibility that the "blasphemy" Kristof is referring to is claiming to know the god's will at all, because I have heard people say that sort of thing in rhetorical fencing matches.

  19. C says

    It's bizarre that God needs babies in Heaven at all. Couldn't he just materialize them directly there or something? Does he have to make them born just to kill them next, causing the family to suffer?

  20. says

    I am utterly SHOCKED by Holy Hyrax's comments! I'd say more, but Ing pretty much said it all.But, really…"Well the story in Samuel is against Amalek. I tribe that the only reason they were to exterminate them was because they were always waring with Israel." REALLY?! It's okay to EXTERMINATE them because of this?! That's INSANE! We're always warring! War is not one-sided! Ack! My head hurts….

  21. says

    Jennifer, what is it that I said that is so shocking? I would love to see where I said we SHOULD smash baby heads on rocks. Lets not try to read into what I am saying to feed your own conclusions please.What I DID say is that, THAT is what warfare was like in those days. Where war was ALWAYS on your doorstep, and your enemy wanting to annihilate you, you annihilate first. Nowadays we don't send 14 years into the military, but they did in the Civil War. Remember, we are in the 21st century trying to judge events over 2000 years ago by your moral understands. That is absurd. If you tried to inject our morality today of the Geneva Accords in that time period, it would simply not work.Now, would I want that today?????? Umm… no.But even recently we did do that. We dropped on A-bomb dilberatly targeting young children and pregnant mother. Was that moral? I think in THAT particular case it was. Do I want to see it as a norm? No.>REALLY?! It's okay to EXTERMINATE them because of this?! That's INSANE! We're always warring! War is not one-sided! Ack! My head hurts….OK Jennifer. You are in 600BC Judea. What would you do? You are dealing with a group (from the context of the stories) that plunders, steals and wars with you.To IngHey the way we looked at black people through most of human history is far harsher than today. You think the lynchings of 1920 and such were ok because of how they viewed it? Ing, its not the same. Blacks were looked at with hate and inferior worthy of lynching if they were not slaves. The reality of children were that they were for the most part as adults. You had children working and children soldiers.Regardless of it being "different times" they already had the rule "Thou Shalt Not Kill/Murder". Nice of them to SUBJECTIVLY abandon it whenever it's convienent.Why is our subjective implementation of it any better then theirs? Don't WE subjectively implement not murdering? We murder enemy soldiers don't we?

  22. says

    Yeah basically it came down to "it's ok because they're the good guys"our subjective decision is hopefully better because WE DON'T KILL CHILDREN. The bombing on Japan is seen by most of the world and even by a good portion here in the states as one of the worst acts America committed. I'd say most definitely it was NOT justified. Especially since they targeted "virgin" (unbombed) cities just so they could get a good study of the bomb's damage. That the second bomb was dropped after Japan had sent a request for surrender negotiations is further unjustifiable. People do do horrible things in war. But the difference between us is that I NOTE ITS HORRIBLE THINGS. It is not right because it's war. Most wars are horrific things where soldiers are pitted against each other like pawns trying to survive. To exterminate pregnant women, children, babies, all live stock, and take female virgins as slaves…that goes beyond the fog of war into preconditioned atrocity. Was it all right for Muslims to attack the US on 911? We're always attacking their land. We invaded in the past and are allies with their enemies. We have bases on their holy land and have toppled their governments. Hey what can they do, they have to hurt us anyway they can, and attacking our infrastructure which supports our army is a good tactic right? All those "civilians" were supporting the economy and paid taxes which funded the US army and military which aided their allies, just as if they were soldiers. And god told them to do it. Perfectly justified. Should Israel exterminate every Palestinian? They're always lobbing missiles over the border and even civilians work towards the destruction of the Israel government. Why not wipe them off the map? By you're argument wasn't the assassination of Martian Luther King Jr. PERFECTLY JUSTIFIED? He was endangering our status quo, a threat to the US way of life and spoke out, organizing subversive movements against the government. Your argument from Tradition is rejected. For supporting an idea of a "loving God" and all that jazz you seemingly don't give an INCH of consideration to human rights. Seriously do you step over a bum dying of overdose in the street since "that's just the way things are"? For all your justification you're a great theist…but a lousy human being.

  23. says

    "What I DID say is that, THAT is what warfare was like in those days. Where war was ALWAYS on your doorstep, and your enemy wanting to annihilate you, you annihilate first."Yeah, screw all those other civilizations that were able to co-exist with their neighbors for some periods of time and you know, DON'T HAVE RECORDS ADMITTING TO THAT. Screw all those honor codes and warrior practices that actually have restrictions on warfare…those cultures were saps. Despite the bible even mentioning that sueing for peace was an option back then. Of course the good Isrealites back stabbed the tribe they were supposed to be merging with and stole all their stuff. Hey you know how some of the Israeli enemies in the bible handled war constantly being on their door step? THEY BUILT A GIANT FUCKING WALL TO KEEP ASSHOLES AWAY! Jericho? And according to the story, God in his mercy allowed those peaceful non-genocidal civilization be wiped out by breaking down that wall so his people could go in and slaughter them dead. yeah….the good guys won that one. "Remember, we are in the 21st century trying to judge events over 2000 years ago by your moral understands. That is absurd. If you tried to inject our morality today of the Geneva Accords in that time period, it would simply not work."No. That's the point. If the modern morality was applied back then. IT WOULD WORK. the work WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER PLACE BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULDN'T THINK IT'S OK TO COMMIT GENOCIDE AND ATROCITIES. Seriously, what part of that do you not get?

  24. says

    I don't believe it's ever OK to slaughter people who have nothing to do with the conflict at hand. The killing of innocents whether commanded by human beings or by God is an atrocity, even during times of war. To make excuses for any persons or deities who might give such orders is quite sad.It's typical for theists to spin, reinterpret and sometimes claim that bible passages are not to be taken literally whenever those passages seem out of place among modern social and moral standards. They want to have their cake and eat it to.

  25. says

    IngI have not made one argument from Tradition. You are making an omelette of everything I have stated. Everything. You choose to judge past morality based on your morality of today. I say, that is absurd. THAT DOESN'T MEAN I WANT TO DO WHAT THEY DID. Only that in those times, that was how war was waged. That is how all civilization, including children understood the world.The A-bomb example is apt because we did do basically what we did in the past. In my opinion, it was the more moral of the choices that was available in THAT time, in THAT situation. And, it worked.>Should Israel exterminate every Palestinian? They're always lobbing missiles over the border and even civilians work towards the destruction of the Israel government. Why not wipe them off the map? Once again you are creating a strawman to something I did not say. AT ALL. But if Israel wishes to go on an offensive against the missles, and it ends up killing scores of innocents would you say they are now immoral? Well the rest of the world thinks so. So who is right? >For supporting an idea of a "loving God" and all that jazz you seemingly don't give an INCH of consideration to human rights. Seriously do you step over a bum dying of overdose in the street since "that's just the way things are"? For all your justification you're a great theist…but a lousy human being.Disgusting of you to create a strawman like this just so your own conclusions can be verified. I guess atheists are just as guilty of this as any theist. After all, you are still human and want to be right. I don't even need to defend such a comment like this one as if it has any merit at all.>Yeah, screw all those other civilizations that were able to co-exist with their neighbors for some periods of time and you know, DON'T HAVE RECORDS ADMITTING TO THAT. Screw all those honor codes and warrior practices that actually have restrictions on warfare…those cultures were saps. Despite the bible even mentioning that sueing for peace was an option back then. Of course the good Isrealites back stabbed the tribe they were supposed to be merging with and stole all their stuff. Hey, if they co-exist, then great. If there are honor codes, then uphold them. >No. That's the point. If the modern morality was applied back then. IT WOULD WORK. the work WOULD HAVE BEEN A BETTER PLACE BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULDN'T THINK IT'S OK TO COMMIT GENOCIDE AND ATROCITIES. Seriously, what part of that do you not get?The point where you are being TOTALLY anachronistic in your view of the world. If you can possibly get EVERYONE to agree then sure, but you don't even have that today do you? What makes you even think something like the geneva accords would have worked back then accross every empire?

  26. says

    >It's typical for theists to spin, reinterpret and sometimes claim that bible passages are not to be taken literally whenever those passages seem out of place among modern social and moral standards. They want to have their cake and eat it to.And this is the problem with atheists, as of late. You can bring up how theists have all this bad stuff in their literature and how they take things literally (ie, that you "fear" you will get slaughtered). But when they DON'T do what the bible tells them happened back then, then you get mad that we don't take it literally.

  27. says

    And there is nothing wrong with having your cake and eating it to. Does it really bother you that theists find meaning in a lot of the teachings that emanate from the bible, but yet are willing to understand we don't do many of the things the bible professed to back then? There seems to be a huge lack of nuance understanding of how regular citizens approach religion and their relationship with God. I think its a failure in a scientific mind. I don't mean that as offensive simply stating that people with a very black and white of looking at everything from scientific logic, perhaps can't understand how you are able to take parts of the bible for meaning, but not others. But the most important part of is, that people DO do that. I can believe in God, I can be part of a great community that we learn the many parts of Jewish religion/philosophy, I can be part of a community that helps feed the poor in our community while at the same time NOT wanting to go around killing non-theists.

  28. says

    No, the problem is that you claim the bible is inerrant and the source of morality. When we point out stuff that is immoral you said "ok it was ok back then…that's how things were done". Clearly the bible is not a source of morality then. If it were just "hey this tribe did some shitty stuff back then" that'd be fine. Lots of tribes did crappy things (the Arcadian city states wiped out Troy, the Egyptians conquered the Nubians etc). You're arguing though, that this tribe LED BY THE PERFECT INHERENT SOURCE OF ALL MORALITY did horrible things, and it was OK back then because everyone was doing it. No, sorry. Here's the problem. The bible admits/claims the chosen people of god, lead by his laws, perfect morality and ten commandments, not only did horrible things in war, but also started wars and were ordered to start wars and commit horrible acts of voilence by their god. Now there are several optionsa) our morality today is wrong as it differs from their perfect morality delivered by godb) they did what many primative tribes did, their religion provided no more moral guidence to them than their pagen neighbors. Therefore the bible is not the source of moralityc) It was ok back then because god commanded it…he has since changed his mind and rewritten what is good and evil. Thus all morality is arbitrary. You seem to be arguing C using justification by peer pressure. The point we make is that if God was all good and was leading this chosen tribe with prophets and all, he should have been able to create a moral system that would not have, slaves, rape, murder, genocide trivialized. The "everyone else was wawrlike" STILL isn't an excuse cause then it's God's fucking fault for only giving his moral code to ONE TRIBE and screwing over everyone else. Our morality is BETTER than the bibles because we have evolved and learned from history. We KNOW that slavery and rape is inherently unjust, that killing the defenseless is dishonorable and that being merciless is a sign of corruption and sadism. The point is that you're "we're no better than they are, we just have different culture morality' arguement is bullshit all around. You degrade modern society for it's achievements and dismiss those sadly crushed by mankind in our journy here, AND you contradict your stance that God==source of morality. From the events in the bible it is clear that it's writers are not a respectable source when it comes to the topic of ethics or morality…I see no reason why we should take anything they say on the topics seriously.

  29. says

    "I can be part of a great community that we learn the many parts of Jewish religion/philosophy, I can be part of a community that helps feed the poor in our community while at the same time NOT wanting to go around killing non-theists."Guess what. you haven't learned ANYTHING about morality from your religion. Everything you think is right comes from outside it. You have subjectively chosen, based on your ideas of what is right and what is wrong which parts of the bible to ignore and which to follow. Good news…that's what non-theists do, we just have no need to glorify the book that you admit DOES NOT lead or guide your life. Do you not think non-theists, nonjews, nonchristians are moral? that we have the same guide to help others and not-be-dicks? If not; well fuck you too! If so then why do you think the bible has any special guidance? Most people in the world didn't need it. It didn't help the ancients and it's holding a lot of people back today. You can get the same lessons on morality you got from the bible from Star Trek, LOTR, Harry Potter, Transformers, Batman, or Shakespeare. You are far more likely to find BETTER moral guidance from the great works of literature than from people who thought that YOU SHOULD KILL NON-THEISTS. Every time you see someone outside you religion and you are not (and I quote) "THE FIRST" to raise arms against him, you are rejecting your scripture's morals in favor of your humanity. Good for you. You're better than your scripture, and you shouldn't feel any need to defend it.

  30. says

    You are right. There is a LOT of violence. I am not going to deny that. But I think you are wrong from the context of the stories, that God could have simply changed a primitive group of nomads to a 21st century beacon of light 3000 years ago. It simply would not work. That is why there is slavely still (though, the bible doesn’t tell you it’s a law to have slaves) The question is, was it the moral thing to do back in those days? Would other things would have worked in the surrounding culture of where they lived? Does a society have a right to protect its idenity from threats from the outside and from within. The Jewish perspective is yes. You DESTROY Amalek, because THEY are out to destroy your children and your women. The "everyone else was wawrlike" STILL isn't an excuse cause then it's God's fucking fault for only giving his moral code to ONE TRIBE and screwing over everyone else. Wait, you just said that no moral code was given because the Israelites acted immorally. I mean, lets say the did give every tribe…then what would have been differnent in the region?

Our morality is BETTER than the bibles because we have evolved and learned from history. We KNOW that slavery and rape is inherently unjust,I don't understand why you think the bible gives a thumbs up to rape, but regarding slavery…hey, you won't like the "excuse." I mean, for most of humanity up until 200 years ago it was the economic norm. So the bible allows for it. It doesn't say you HAVE to have them. Like I said above, no Jew believes God could have snapped his hands and created a new human society out of clothe in the middle of the middle east out of nowhere. Things take time, and even the rabbis of early centuries understood this.that killing the defenseless is dishonorable and that being merciless is a sign of corruption and sadism. Like I said, you can only judge that because you live now. In those days, you wared with nations that wanted your land, wanted your property, wanted you as slaves. There were no agreements. You either destroy, or you be destroyed. No how are we today, going to objectively show one way is ALWAYS more moral then the other? I don't have an answer to that. But clearly, from my experience with Israel lately, that the world thought Israel was a genocidal mad country, I can tell you that world opinion on how to approach war is not defacto more moral.The point is that you're "we're no better than they are, we just have different culture morality' arguement is bullshit all around. You degrade modern society for it's achievements and dismiss those sadly crushed by mankind in our journy here, AND you contradict your stance that God==source of morality. From the events in the bible it is clear that it's writers are not a respectable source when it comes to the topic of ethics or morality…I see no reason why we should take anything they say on the topics seriously.Please, I degrade nothing by simply understanding that certain things were unattainable over 3000 years ago.

  31. says

    >Guess what. you haven't learned ANYTHING about morality from your religion. Everything you think is right comes from outside it. You have subjectively chosen, based on your ideas of what is right and what is wrong which parts of the bible to ignore and which to follow. Good news…that's what non-theists do, we just have no need to glorify the book that you admit DOES NOT lead or guide your life. Actually, I admitted to nothing, and my life HAS been enriched with morality (and I believe I said meaning as well) from my religion. My religion has taught me the evils of ruining a name by slander and gossip. It has shown me that we have more worth because we are created in a divine image hence I go out of my way to helping those in my community. It has led me to better family life. In our day in and day out, what else do we need? What OTHER morality from the outside are you talking about?>Do you not think non-theists, nonjews, nonchristians are moral? that we have the same guide to help others and not-be-dicks? If not; well fuck you too! If so then why do you think the bible has any special guidance? No, you are all a bunch of immoral clods. And why do you I feel the bible has any special guidance??? Because it has. It IS something you can see.>Most people in the world didn't need it. Who is most?It didn't help the ancients and it's holding a lot of people back today.How did it not help the ancients? which ancients, and who is it holding back today? Do they know its holding them back? If so, why are they still letting them hold it back?You can get the same lessons on morality you got from the bible from Star Trek, LOTR, Harry Potter, Transformers, Batman, or Shakespeare. You are far more likely to find BETTER moral guidance from the great works of literature than from people who thought that YOU SHOULD KILL NON-THEISTS. Every time you see someone outside you religion and you are not (and I quote) "THE FIRST" to raise arms against him, you are rejecting your scripture's morals in favor of your humanity. Good for you. You're better than your scripture, and you shouldn't feel any need to defend it.Oh please, this is typical Sam Harris stuff. The point is people DON'T get their morals from that sort of literature. It HASN'T led people and given them meaning in their lives. You are just creating a false theoretical that doesn't exist. And I am VERY sorry to tell you this, but my religion does not tell me to kill atheists or people that are different then I am.

  32. says

    INGI think the problem is, I don't think you understand what "religion" is. You have a very caricature view of what it is: "Go kill everyone that doesn't believe in what you do" and that is all. I can't speak for Christianity, but that is not Judaism. I have to step out for a bit (lunch time here). Feel free to email me at [email protected] if I fail to respond.I think you DO bring up some interesting things that are always worthy of discussion

  33. says

    "It HASN'T led people and given them meaning in their lives. "Yes it does. What do you think influences children more growing up. Sesame street or the bible?"No, you are all a bunch of immoral clods. And why do you I feel the bible has any special guidance??? Because it has. It IS something you can see."Clearly I don't. And I repeat "Fuck you too". "Actually, I admitted to nothing, and my life HAS been enriched with morality (and I believe I said meaning as well) from my religion. My religion has taught me the evils of ruining a name by slander and gossip. It has shown me that we have more worth because we are created in a divine image hence I go out of my way to helping those in my community. It has led me to better family life."All of which most people in the world get from outside of your sacred book (most people in the world are not jewish). I mean get real, you don't NEED your religion to teach you that. And since you've thrown out the 'bad' parts of what your scripture teaches clearly you made the decision on your own what is good and evil. "Please, I degrade nothing by simply understanding that certain things were unattainable over 3000 years ago."If God existed than it damn well was unattainable then! He just didn't do it? Is god incompetent or immoral? "I don't understand why you think the bible gives a thumbs up to rape, but regarding slavery…hey, you won't like the "excuse." I mean, for most of humanity up until 200 years ago it was the economic norm. So the bible allows for it. It doesn't say you HAVE to have them."Oh you don't HAVE to have them. Yeah…great defense."Like I said above, no Jew believes God could have snapped his hands and created a new human society out of clothe in the middle of the middle east out of nowhere. Things take time, and even the rabbis of early centuries understood this"Except ITS FUCKING GOD! by definition if he existed he should be able to do ANYTHING. Even without giving a finger snap he specifically forbid certain things according to the stories by saying "DON'T DO IT". You're telling me that if the Hebrews had heard DIRECTLY FROM GOD "don't have slaves" or "treat your wives well" they would say "nah fuck you god"? That's just stupid. Why did God think it was fucking important enough to outlaw pork but not slavery? "Oh please, this is typical Sam Harris stuff. The point is people DON'T get their morals from that sort of literature. It HASN'T led people and given them meaning in their lives. You are just creating a false theoretical that doesn't exist."I'm sorry, but it's fucking true. Most people I know take more form secular art and literature than the bible. You can get your morality and ethics from outside the bible."I am VERY sorry to tell you this, but my religion does not tell me to kill atheists or people that are different then I am."except it TOTALLY FUCKING DOES! Do you think I haven't read the goddamn bible? It's clear about it. No pork, no gay, no shellfish, stone unrulely children, marry your rape victim, be the first one to kill any friend who doesn't worship god. Same fucking book.

  34. says

    "I think the problem is, I don't think you understand what "religion" is. You have a very caricature view of what it is: "Go kill everyone that doesn't believe in what you do" and that is all. I can't speak for Christianity, but that is not Judaism."I'm sorry but I used to be religious. I know what religion is. My point was that you don't kill everyone for being different, DESPITE that the bible tells you to. The point was that most people ignore 90% of their bible and the other 10% they judged as good isn't exclusive to the bible. You're view of Judaism appears to be more of a culture/ancestor worship than any theology. The ancients who wrote the bible are blameless because they're you're special group. Israel is blameless because they're god's people. Really all it seems to come down to is "I AM SPECIAL" You don't hold on to the bible because it teaches morality, you hold onto it because it tells you you're part of an elite.(not to insult any other Jews, I am quite fond of the American Jewish culture and secular philosophy, but the Zionism is based on the premise "The Jews are God's chosen people and Israel was promised to them". People like Sam HAVE to hold on to that because if it's not true than basically they stole land from other people unjustifiably. (Either with modern day Israel, which I don't have an opinion on, or ancient Israel taken from the start with the sacking of Jericho. Without God to give the green light, Israel is founded on coming in and taking other people's stuff)

  35. says

    >Yes it does. What do you think influences children more growing up. Sesame street or the bible?Please. You are creating a false scenerio where supposidly religion says there are no positive influences anywhere else, and nobody hands a child a bible and say READ. And you really think that when a child is in his teens he remembers what he learned on sesame street?>Clearly I don't. I can't be blamed if you choose not to see. Im not sitting here saying it gives it to everyone. But you seem to be denying it gives it to anyone>And I repeat "Fuck you too". It was sarcasm>If God existed than it damn well was unattainable then! He just didn't do it? Is god incompetent or immoral? Well, I am sure we can get into a large philosophical discussion of the root of morality, which is what I asked Tyler. If God told you, face to face to do something, would you do it? >Oh you don't HAVE to have them. Yeah…great defense.You choose to not except it fine with me. Nowhere does the bible tell you, you have to have them. That was the social norm of the time and thats all. Just like it was the social norm for most of our history till recently>Except ITS FUCKING GOD! by definition if he existed he should be able to do ANYTHING. Even without giving a finger snap he specifically forbid certain things according to the stories by saying "DON'T DO IT". You're telling me that if the Hebrews had heard DIRECTLY FROM GOD "don't have slaves" or "treat your wives well" they would say "nah fuck you god"? That's just stupid. Why did God think it was fucking important enough to outlaw pork but not slavery? Because the whole planet had slavery. Period. You can regulate it, but you couldn't ban something that every country probably needed to survive. And I don't see anywhere it tells you treat your life like spit. If anything, all the women in scripture are generally given the highest credit. Now you will say this is apologetics. I will answer to you, simply go down the line to the main women and come to your own conclusions.What you are basically asking me is why didn't God do according to what you perceive is right. Why didn't God go according to modern's man notion of morality NOW, vs what it was back then. Could it have gone in a different direction? I guess so. But really, asking "why" with "god" is always difficult. It's like asking me about theodicy.

  36. says

    >I'm sorry, but it's fucking true. Most people I know take more form secular art and literature than the bible. I get a lot of secular art too. But nobody takes their ethics from it.>You can get your morality and ethics from outside the bible.From religion you mean? I guess you damn could. And good for anyone that can. I think the problem is, you have no mechanism to pass it forward. Everything is ultimately incredibly subjective. Do you really think a person like Peter Singer is person that has an ethical frame of mind. And I can assure you that he is being perfectly reasonable.>except it TOTALLY FUCKING DOES! Do you think I haven't read the goddamn bible? It's clear about it. No pork, no gay, no shellfish, stone unrulely children, marry your rape victim, be the first one to kill any friend who doesn't worship god. Same fucking book.Sorry. You have read our book but you have not read our religion. Eating pork is not a death penalty. Marring the person you raped OR paying her father is not as immoral as it sounds. If you potentially destroyed someone's life, you should be held now to take care of her. Why is sending a rapist into the slammer while the victim has to be traumatized for it her whole life anymore moral? Regarding gays, you don't kill gays only if there are witness to their act. None of the killings you bring up can be done simply for killing out of nowhere. There is a court system and our religion states that you NEVER kill an unruly child. That was never meant to be taken literally. And guess what, these were not ancient rabbis that were at the slightest inspired by modern notions of morality.I think you have a better case in simply arguing that these things shouldn't even BE liable for death, rather simply reading it and shoving it down a religions throat when that religion doesn't do to what you think it does exactly.

  37. says

    >I'm sorry but I used to be religious. I know what religion is. My point was that you don't kill everyone for being different, DESPITE that the bible tells you to. Wait, stick to ONE thing. You are hoping from "atheist" to "different." In Judaism, the only thing of "belief" that could be carried out was idolotry. Everything else is regarding behaivor and ONLY to a Jew. It doesn't care if a Christian is a Christian, let alone nowadays when nothing is carried out. Not because we simply want to go against the bible literally, but because that is not how Judaism approaches the text/legal issues in the Torah. You are simply creating a false reality that Judaism does not recognize and then blaming us for not following what the text actually says.>The point was that most people ignore 90% of their bible and the other 10% they judged as good isn't exclusive to the bible.Oh please, you are just making up numbers here. You obviously DON'T know Judaism and the meaning and inspiration Jews get from all of the text. Just enter a Jewish seminary where there are books on all subject matters from throughout the Torah, or do you wish for Jews to build alters for sacrifices in their backyard? And you are right, you can find good things outside, I don't think anyone has claimed there isn't. But I also know that a lot of the good stuff found within it people simply DON'T care about or try to uphold.>Without God to give the green light, Israel is founded on coming in and taking other people's stuff)You're right, but if you go with the context of the story, then would you have the Israelites tell God NOT to enter Jericho? Isen't THAT what this is ALL about and what I asked Tyler. If God LITERALLy told you to do something, would you do it, or not? I don't mean a delusion, but literally if humanity KNEW God existed and he talked to us, would you follow his wishes if he asked to do something you felt otherwise?

  38. says

    Ok HH you're an idiot. People do get their ethics secularly, lots of us do. We don't all get it from the bible. I've spelt out what the problem is several times and you don't get it. So yeah. I give. Congrads you win the debate by being too dense to talk to. You justify Israel cause God said so, but can't prove god. Ignoiring that this means you think God tells his followers to kill people whose only crime was living, You miss of course that this means anyone else has as much a claim to the land by claiming THEIR magical friend gave it to them. You use god to justify special privileges for your own group all the while claiming that you don't. Worst part is you're head is too far up your scripture to see how hypocritical and nasty you are.

  39. says

    "Marring the person you raped OR paying her father is not as immoral as it sounds. "Really…do I need to say anything else?Seriously, everyone else here, Am I way off base, cause it feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall?

  40. says

    I think you totally misunderstood me. I didn't mean people that aren't religious don't get their ethics. So lets put that in the dumpster.>You justify Israel cause God said so, but can't prove god. My whole philosophical argument was IF we knew God exists, what would we do if put in that situation.>Ignoiring that this means you think God tells his followers to kill people whose only crime was living, You miss of course that this means anyone else has as much a claim to the land by claiming Aren't we both working from a reference point of IF it happened, would it be moral to follow an actual God?Side point: The scripture makes it very clear that the only reason the Israelites were allowed to enter was because the Cannanites had grown to become immoral. So from the context of the story, they were not just "living"> You use god to justify special privileges for your own group all the while claiming that you don't. Worst part is you're head is too far up your scripture to see how hypocritical and nasty you are.hypocritical? special privelage?If you say so.

  41. says

    Really…do I need to say anything else?Seriously, everyone else here, Am I way off base, cause it feels like I'm banging my head against a brick wall?bang away. In those days, you get raped, a womans life was over (OR ARE YOU GOING TO ARGUE AGAINSST THIS POINT AS WELL??). This was a great way to make sure a potential rapists knew what his responsibilities would be if he commits this crim as well as a "ruined" girls ability to not have her life over with before it starts

  42. says

    >Ok HH you're an idiot. People do get their ethics secularly, lots of us do. We don't all get it from the bible. I've spelt out what the problem is several times and you don't get it. So yeah. I give. Congrads you win the debate by being too dense to talk to. But you know what, since you enjoy being a Jerk, I will be one and call you just as dence. I SPECIFICALLY said you CAN get ethics outside. Here is my comment so you can try to read it once again and not be such a fucking tool and ignore what ever you don't like and latch onto other things:And you are right, you can find good things outside, I don't think anyone has claimed there isn't. But I also know that a lot of the good stuff found within it people simply DON'T care about or try to uphold.Should I retype that for you and accuse me of saying you don't get ethics outside?And I keep using the term RELIGION, and you skip back to BIBLE. So don't fucking accuse ME of being dense. Like I said, you ignore what you want to match YOUR conclusion about theists.

  43. says

    In those days, you get raped, a womans life was over (OR ARE YOU GOING TO ARGUE AGAINSST THIS POINT AS WELL??). This was a great way to make sure a potential rapists knew what his responsibilities would be if he commits this crim as well as a "ruined" girls ability to not have her life over with before it starts"Or you could make the law "don't rape people" and have the penalty for rape be death. Again, pork worth out right outlawing…rape naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Not even a word about taking care of women victimized or at least not shaming them.

  44. says

    "But you know what, since you enjoy being a Jerk, I will be one and call you just as dence. I SPECIFICALLY said you CAN get ethics outside. Here is my comment so you can try to read it once again and not be such a fucking tool and ignore what ever you don't like and latch onto other things:"Um yeah you said we were all "Immoral clods" so yeah excuse me for taking you at your word. If we can get better ethics from outside religion than what's the point of it? That was my whole point and you denied it. I'm a jerk to you cause you don't seem to realize how assholish and monstrous your excuses for this flawed stupid moral code is. out of curiosity, you said you help the poor with a Jewish group (in Israel?) do you/would you help a poor Muslim?

  45. says

    >Or you could make the law "don't rape people" and have the penalty for rape be death. Again, pork worth out right outlawing…rape naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. Not even a word about taking care of women victimized or at least not shaming them.The law IS you don't rape people. DUH. So I understand you. You wanted God to set a law to really fundamentally change people social behaivors by not shaming the woman. Ok, Fine. Me, personally, I feel that would be impossible. Women are even shunned today. So the next best thing is to take care of the womans needs.Look, lets ask this WITHOUT the God factor. Do you believe in THAT time frame, that that was a good rule?

  46. says

    >Um yeah you said we were all "Immoral clods" so yeah excuse me for taking you at your word. If we can get better ethics from outside religion than what's the point of it? That was my whole point and you denied it. AND I RESPONDED THAT WAS SARCASM FOR YOU ASKING ME IF I FELT ATHEISTS WERE IMMORAL. READ THE FUCKING COMMENTS.>out of curiosity, you said you help the poor with a Jewish group (in Israel?) do you/would you help a poor Muslim?I said I we help the poor in our community. There is no test for religion. Our synagogue sends food to a local homless shelter and another synagogue opens their doors to the homeless every thursday and congregants have lunch with the homeless. Also, a few synagogues went together to help out "Jewish World Watch" which helps the people of Darfur

  47. says

    "The law IS you don't rape people. DUH."No the law doesn't say "Don't rape a woman or you'll be punished for a crime, say like with death" it's "if you slip up and rape a woman you have to pay a fine""So I understand you. You wanted God to set a law to really fundamentally change people social behaivors by not shaming the woman. Ok, Fine."YEAH CAUSE THAT'S WHAT THE BOOK SAYS HE FUCKING DID! HE SET UP 100+ FUCKING LAWS TO BUILD HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE'S SOCIETY AND RED LOBSTER GOT MORE DAMNED THAN A RAPIST. THIS IS SKEWED PRIORITIES THAT ISN'T REALLY GOOD EVIDENCE THAT THESE LAWS WERE WRITTEN BY A PERFECT GOD. "Me, personally, I feel that would be impossible."IT. IS. SUPPOSED. TO. BE. GOD. Really, how do you not get it." Women are even shunned today. "YEAH MOSTLY BY PEOPLE WHO FOLLOW YOUR FUCKING RULES!"So the next best thing is to take care of the womans needs."And yet the father gets paid. Real great fucking system."Look, lets ask this WITHOUT the God factor. Do you believe in THAT time frame, that that was a good rule?"NO! Giving the woman over as property to the rapist is a horrible idea. And apparently the Isrealites didn't either cause later on they punish an outsider for rape by murdering his entire tribe. I'm done talking…God, with Cipher having talked to you before no wonder he went crazy.

  48. says

    >If we can get better ethics from outside religion than what's the point of it?Thats a fair question that I wouldn't mind tackling with you. I have no problem discussing stuff with atheists as I "conveniently" work with three atheists and we get into good discussions. I think it can (shock) even be respectful as opposed to what your tone has been. It's almost 5:00 so I have to go home soon. Can you email me (that is if you want to continue)

  49. says

    Holy Hyrax,When I stated that theists want their cake and eat it too, I was referring to the cherry picking that run rampant among theists and is evident in the comments you've posted here. Theists pick the parts of the bible they like and disregard or reinterpret the parts that they know are out of touch with reality, logic, and modern social standards. Additionally Theists quite frequently hold God to a different set of standards than they would hold another human being. God commands that humans kill innocent humans yet you state (paraphrasing) "that's how war was waged back then". Your religious texts document ultra violent actions and shows God ordering the killing of innocent people yet I'm not seeing you hold God accountable for the violence and actions carried out against innocent people, nor do I see you holding God accountable for his lack of intervention and the prevention of such atrocities. Instead you're blaming the morals of men who lived thousands of years ago. The fact that it happened ages ago doesn't' make it alright and the fact that the God of the bible commanded such things doesn't make it alright either. While not everything in the Bible is "bad" this particular example (1 Samuel 15) really paints God in an unflattering and evil light which is contrary to what Theists claim God is. Anyone who orders the killing of innocents is an immoral asshole…there is no excuse anyone can make to justify such a thing. Why anyone would worship a God like this I'll never know.I also see that in several parts of your later posts you claim that things like slavery and such where part of the economic norm and that God never said you "HAVE" to have slaves, which is an incredibly weak argument. The fact that an all knowing, all powerful being would create a system in which it would allow its creations to suffer things like rape, famine, disease, slavery, killings of innocents, etc. and then claim he loves each and every creation is absurd. You should be asking yourself why God would do something like this and if a God such as this is even worthy of love and worship. Furthermore being the all knowing being he is God, knew before he created any of this that it was going to happen and that he was going to do nothing about it."no Jew believes God could have snapped his hands and created a new human society out of clothe in the middle of the middle east out of nowhere. Things take time, and even the rabbis of early centuries understood this."What really? God can create the Earth and everything on it in 6 days but is so lacking in power that things "take time"? From the many conversations I've had with Theists, I was lead to believe God had unlimited power and so why did he not create a system or reality where these things wouldn't exist?

  50. says

    ScottYou bring up some good questions. I think though too much has been written on this thread. Feel free to email me.BTW- Are you the same scott from JA's site?

  51. says

    "What the fuck do you want him to do. HOCUS FUCKING POCUS. All of a SUDDEN, you Israelites no longer live in 3000BC and think of your women in 21st cenutry ways. How the fuck do YOU not get this?"Holy Hyrax you are hilariously retarded.According to your retarded logic GOD adjusted his rules to fit the morals of 3000BC. This is retarded on so many levels:1. The creator of the UNIVERSE had to compromise and lower his standards down to US to make them work. Apparently you can't do whatever you want even if you are GOD. You are basically saying God had no other choice. rofl1.1 The goal of a moral code is not to chose them so that they "work" as often as possible. To say "ah nobody would have obeyed todays morals back then, so he picked easier rules rules to follow. Even if 99,99% of all people back then would have failed to comply to a higher moral standard, why would god not at least tell them what his real moral standards are? Why would HE lower himself to us, just for the sake of having a higher percentage of people obeying his rules.2. According to your argument the moral code of the bible is not really gods true moral standard since he had to dumb it down for the people of that time. So not only do we not know what gods moral values truly are, he is also sending people to heaven/hell over millennia based on a dumbed down, compromised version of his true moral values…but still claiming in the book that those rules are the real ones.

  52. says

    oh yeah3. If god adjusted and dumbed down the morals of the bible to fit 3000BC…where did the morals prior to 3000BC come from?If you say we came up with it ourselfs, then you are admitting that a god is not needed to come up with a moral standard.If we didn't come up with it, who did? If it was god, why did he change it later on

  53. says

    @ Scott.Yeah that's basically what I was getting at. Apparently for some reason I couldn't communicate it and thus doubt my own insanity.

  54. says

    Hey Holy Hyrax, No I am not the same Scott from JA's site. I only discovered The Atheist Experience and its blog about 4 months ago, though I have been an Atheist since I was 15 years old (21 years). The responses I created today are the 2 of the 3 I've ever created here. I normally don't have time to do more than listen to and read the opinions here but since I'm home sick with a cold and had some time on my hands I decided to join in, in the debate.

  55. says

    Me being hyporicical now.@ Johnboy. While I think your points are damn valid, and despite my own snapping at him due to frustration I wouldn't go as far as to call him retarded. And in the continuing spirit of fairness HH is jewish and thus most likely doesn't believe in Hell. I got an e-mail from HH clearing up his position. Which the problem is that really I don't understand. His statement was that Jews today do not hold the passages allowing/ordering atrocities as they were held in the past. IE such things are not a good idea. This still baffles me. I can't understand how you can look at your sacred book, throw things out and still believe it's a flipping sacred book! If slavery and the like is no-go then why bother keeping kosher? Why bother with any of the laws since you're clearly judging them by an externally formed morality and deciding which ones are of real value and which are historical tid bits. It's an inconsistent position.

  56. says

    IngIn short, its because Jews don't look at the Torah as the sole definitive word on what is moral. It is a stepping stool for the nation as a whole to be more moral, righteous and infuse life with a sense of holiness. We look at different mitigating circumstances and wrestle with competing values. What works in one instant does not necassarily mean it will work in all instances. It's like Miamonides approach to biblical sacrifices. He doesn't hold that there is something inheritly "moral" about them, but simply that that was a way to get the Israelites to use a common means or worship away from pagan Gods to their god. (Hence a stepping stool). The bible to those within the religion find it relevant and sacred because it shows its relevancy in our lives and its teachings (ie, the corpus of Jewish thought around it) is why we hold it sacred. I think I can understand why people find that odd. But we don't simply open up the Torah and say "aha, lets act like Pincheous did." We discuss it, we find underlying messages (regardless if its there or not) and we apply it. This is what the Talmudic rabbis did in a span of centuries. They wrestled with it find applied meaning and how should a man behave. Did they always get it right? I don't think so. The idea of what is moral is first that there is One God and to ACT righteous and do justice. This is not me making this up but you can check in later books of the bible where Israel is hammered for their useless rituals as opposed to acting justly and morally.So I guess to wrap it up, you ask why we pick and choose. Because to us (at least Jews), the Torah is not supposed to be static. It lies within a system that allows for the reapplication of what the stories and laws are supposed to teach the nation. So in conclusion (I am sorry this is long), I will leave you with a Talmudic tale: Rabbis were discussing a specific law. The majority thought the law was X, but a lone rabbi thought and was SURE it was Y. He instituted divine assistance to PROVE that the law was as he stated. Sure enough a heavenly voice came down and said the law goes according to the lone rabbi. The other rabbis turn around and say to God: "The Torah is not in heaven." God responds with laughing: "My children have defeated me"The meaning of this tale is, that the Torah is on earth now. WE decide what to make out of it based on what we feel the need is. In it's very nature, is one for reapplications and understanding. Its not about solidified morality of zealotry against "enemies of God". You may not accept this. You may now call it apologetics, but that is how we approach it and HAVE been approaching it.PS- Kosher is not an issue of morality hence I thin its irrelevant that if slavery is abolished it means kosher is too.PSS-Sorry for cursing before

  57. says

    "And this is the problem with atheists, as of late. You can bring up how theists have all this bad stuff in their literature and how they take things literally (ie, that you "fear" you will get slaughtered). But when they DON'T do what the bible tells them happened back then, then you get mad that we don't take it literally."Er, I don't…. Be careful about painting us with too wide of a brush here, which is what we're typically accused of doing to theists ;).In fact, I see believers picking and choosing from their holy books as a very positive thing: it demonstrates the proper functioning of their morality. They can tell bad (slavery, murder, genocide, totalitarianism) from good (love, cooperation, helping one another, etc) and that's being reflected in their selectivity.Sure, they don't realize that that negates the truth value of what they believe, but it at least gives me some hope that they'll be able to shuffle off the nonsense in their holy books and live in reality along with the rest of us.Also, the differences you're pointing out in the prevailing morality portrayed in the bible, koran, etc. and that that's extant today is really only an example of a shifting "Zeitgeist" (a notion Richard Dawkins devotes some discussion to).It doesn't support the truth value of belief in a god and, in fact, stands as a counter-example (god's morality is supposed to be eternal and unchanging). It only reflects _human_ morality, and nothing more cosmic than that.

  58. says

    "What you are basically asking me is why didn't God do according to what you perceive is right. Why didn't God go according to modern's man notion of morality NOW, vs what it was back then. Could it have gone in a different direction? I guess so. But really, asking "why" with "god" is always difficult. It's like asking me about theodicy."Don't mean to jump in again, but no, I don't see these as the central questions of atheism.I think the more important dilemma is the apparent lack of a cosmic moral standard period. What you'd expect is that god's morality should be detectable and accessible, and he/she/it should be able to enforce it such that it is uniform among people.What we see is actually the opposite: moral standards that vary between individuals and groups and over time.This is not in concert with the notion that there exists a god that's detectable and accessible (the central claim of theists).There shouldn't even be this conflict between the morals of man and god in the first place, and yet there is.I think you're absolutely right about the differences in human judgment about such things as rape, murder, slavery and etc. over time. But that condition is actually a counterargument to the claim of the existence of god and his cosmic world, not a supporting one.LS

  59. says

    Reading the discussion with HH has me thinking about evolving morality. I find myself agreeing with the parts about ethical thought being different in the olden days, although; I still think 1 Samuel 15 reeks of blood lust, even by ancient standards. Any tactician reading it would wonder why at least the livestock were not simply captured as spoils of war, or the women and infants to replace the casualties.This and other passages in the OT seem to indicate that "thou shall not murder" is intended to apply to followers of YVWH who have not earned the death penalty. In other words, a military invasion, execution, or a killing of another human in self-defense is not equivalent to a "murder". Neither does this commandment extend protection to pagans, heathens, criminals, or (I doubt this last one even occurred to them) non-human lifeforms.There is obviously modern disagreement among theists who honor this particular commandment (in whatever sacred text) about where the line is. The Janists, for example, take an extreme approach eating vegan and filtering their drinking water through cheese-cloth so as to rescue any tiny organisms. But even to these passive folk, vegetable life is not sacred nor lifeforms small enough to fit through the cheese-cloth.I have heard the commandment phrased as "thou shall not kill" and this has always irked me because it shows a complete failure to acknowledge animals and vegetables as even being alive. (They will say that non-human life is "soulless" so that makes it okay, but that seems very species-centric to me) If one were truly to live by the standard of "thou shall not destroy any form of life", one would certainly not survive the week – we omnivores are engines of destruction and will eventually be driven to it by molecules in our brains.I have heard vegans state the standard as "thou shall not cause pain" and justify vegetable death with their lack of a nervous system. At least they are talking about something concrete and tangible, and while I personally cannot give up the visceral pleasure of devouring animals (I am a creature of vice and try to avoid claiming moral high ground) I have to admit that this argument is a perfectly consistent reason for adopting a vegan lifestyle.This line of thought has me wondering what ethics will be like in the distant future (if our species has one). If you would indulge me in some story-telling… The following is just an exercise to try to imagine the difference between ancient ethics and the present because it's interesting to think about, it is NOT intended as an argument to justify the behavior of the god character in 1 Samuel 15.I imagine that if our species thrives, then so will our general ethical principles continue to expand to cover ethics in regards to animal and maybe even vegetable life. Imagine if we solved our appetite problem with solar cells, essentially cutting out the middle-men between photosynthesis and the chemical energy we run on. Eating might become seen as a distasteful carnal pleasure exercised only by those who have no respect for life. Agriculture in retrospect would be seen as vegetable-slavery, forcing plants into twisted shapes and butchering them without remorse.

  60. says

    Tracie, this is maybe the best post I ever read on an atheist blog. My comment might be lost in all the debate that this post has stirred (I might take part on it later) but I wanted to say that it really made my day.

  61. says

    Thanks Guillame. I'm stunned at 74 comments. I hadn't stopped back here for awhile, and I'm just shocked. I'll have to read through these when I have time. I'm glad you got something out of it, and took the time to let me know.

  62. says

    >Well the story in Samuel is against Amalek. I tribe that the only reason they were to exterminate them was because they were always waring with Israel.I know this is the theist response, but it's a dodge. The point is the theist is basically saying that "sometimes genocide and infanticide are OK."This is not only moral relativity, but moral relativity to an extreme degree. If murdering infants is sometimes OK–then anything is sometimes OK. And if anything is sometimes OK, then there is nothing BUT relative morality; which generally conflicts with most theists in Christianity, who claim god is unchanging and is the moral author.If their religion states that when god says slay infants–you get your sword out–then they're religion is dangerous because it bypasses their morality. That's part of the argument against Hitler–he was able to persuade a lot of people to do atrocious things. And religion just got you to say that wholesale infant slaughter is OK–if another group of people is always warring with you. Certainly the infants haven't caused problems for you? And the cattle–what did they do against you?There is no actual reason or justification. If they were carrying some horrid, incurable plague, I might even accept that–but their parents were our enemies? How in the world is that justified? That would be like executing a convicted murderers children for his murders. How is that morally correct? And if god is said to be a divine authority–and the author of morality–shouldn't this make us rethink that idea?If he commands atrocities, and we don't know why, we lose the right to say he's good. If he gives an explanation that makes no moral or justified sense (their parents were our enemies), then we lose the right to say he's good.

  63. says

    In a nutshell, again, if god commands things that you do not consider or accept as moral, what are the grounds for claiming god's morality is good?Do you think it is justified to commit genocide and infanticide when you're at war with another nation?Most people would say "no." Yet many of those people are Christians who say god is moral. What is their basis for claiming god is moral when god commands things that conflict with what they accept as moral? How are they coming to the conclusion "god is good"?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>