Craig’s Lame Defense of God’s Barbarism

William Lane Craig seems to spend most of his time debating atheists over the existence of God and other subjects. But when confronted with arguments about the barbarism of God in the Old Testament, he has nothing to offer but terrible arguments like this:

“I think it’s just dishonest when people like Richard Dawkins portray Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, as this moral monster. These highly singular commands need to be read against the background of the whole of the Old Testament which includes the great moral law that is given by God which is head and shoulders above other ancient near eastern moral and legal codes…”

Isn’t it interesting how God gets graded on a curve here? It isn’t that the commands for slaughter and genocide in the Old Testament are good and moral, it’s that they’re (allegedly) a little better than some of the other local deities in the area. And what exactly is so great and moral about the law given by God in the Old Testament? Stoning a woman to death for not being a virgin on her wedding day is great and moral? Forcing a woman to marry her rapist is great and moral?

“It’s against the backdrop of the prophets which explain God’s compassion for the poor and the oppressed and the orphans and widows.”

Let’s call this the Adolf Hitler argument. It’s like arguing that because Hitler was a vegetarian and loved animals, that somehow mitigates the fact that he committed genocide. It all reminds me of this meme that’s going around on Facebook:

hitlergod

84 comments on this post.
  1. Modusoperandi:

    No, Hitler’s bad no matter what, because God was not commanding him. Joshua, in contrast, is good no matter what because He was. Checkmate, Athiests!

  2. Brett McCoy:

    I bet he has no clue what any of the other ancient Near Eastern codices of law even are…

  3. Ulysses:

    Isn’t it interesting how God gets graded on a curve here?

    Even if Yahweh gets graded on a curve he’s still at the low end. When he fails even on a curve then he still fails.

  4. joachim:

    Speaking of barbarism, by a god you don’t even think exists, do you also decry the barabarism of modern Science…which has provided WMD’s that could destroy civilization in an afternoon and poison the earth for millenia?

    Even the Flood did not poison all future generations.

    But you don’t decry the barbarism made possible by modern science because your Moral Relativism allows you all to operate under a double standard.

    (And just because there is not much talk of nuclear Holocaust these days does not mean it isn’t going to happen.)

  5. Modusoperandi:

    joachim, see Supreme Court case, Is V Ought.

  6. Pierce R. Butler:

    Stoning a woman to death for not being a virgin on her wedding day is great and moral? Forcing a woman to marry her rapist is great and moral?

    If she’s been raped, then she’s not a virgin, so shouldn’t she get a good holy stoning (instead of a mere ricing)?

  7. matty1:

    I decry barbarism by anyone, I decry any story true or fictional that advocates such barbarism and don’t need it to be true to do so. I think the use of scientific knowledge to make weapons is a huge moral failure on the part of the people involved.

    Will that do Joachim? Or do you need me to renounce the modern world and sacrifice a goat to Zeus?

    P.S What are you doing using the Satanic interwebs if all science is evil?

  8. John Pieret:

    … you don’t decry the barbarism made possible by modern science …

    Science doesn’t claim to be omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Science is a human enterprise and what it “does” amounts to the actions of human beings and we all know what bastards they are. If Craig said the Bible was a human document reflecting human morality, then his attempt to justify it as better than other human morality of its time, might (if true) have some force. But he continues to claim that the Bible is the word of that omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent being and the only “objective” morality we have. Since he does so, it and the god it supposedly reflects has to be measured by his own standard.

  9. steve oberski:

    @joachim

    If WMDs do destroy civilization there’s a better than even chance that it’s going to have something to do with invisible friends whose moral code has not changed since we started to work with iron tools.

  10. Akira MacKenzie:

    joachim, as usual , your wealth of stupidity is astounding. You have certainly earned your reputation as a willfully ignorant, right-wing, religio-troll.

  11. jasonfailes:

    Is that a deliberate red herring, Joachim, or do you really not understand the point?

    Ok, for the slow student: If there was an omnipotent omniscient creator of the universe who authored all morality, a book inspired/ghost written by said entity should contain only commands and actions we would still regard today as highly moral, not commands and actions that exactly match the barbarity of the time and tribe that give us that book.

    Pointing out modern barbarism is irrelevant, we know people are barbarous, and if you think Ed doesn’t condemn modern man-made monstrosities then this must be the very first fucking Disparches post you’ve ever read.

  12. steve oberski:

    From the god and son blog referenced in the next post.

    Mass Biblical destruction of land and people…

    The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were acts carried out in God’s name.

    U.S President Harry S Truman made this perfectly clear when he filmed a speech thanking God for the bomb.

    It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.
    We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.

    God’s purpose then, was to burn, irradiate, crush & tear apart around quarter of a million Japanese people, and leave a legacy of cancer through radiation poisoning… and some people STILL ask what harm can it do, to let people believe in religion?

  13. joachim:

    I have answers for all your posts, but the “free”thinker Ed has blocked me.

    And he didn’t even have the guts to say it, I suppose to maintain his facade of being a “free”thinker.

  14. raven:

    of the whole of the Old Testament which includes the great moral law that is given by God which is head and shoulders above other ancient near eastern moral and legal codes…”

    I don’t remember this as being true.

    We have a lot of information from neighboring cultures on their laws and legal codes, i.e. the Code of Hamurabi etc.. IIRC, they make the biblical laws look a bit barbaric even for the times.

  15. joachim:

    I have just a moment before he blocks this one too, but in answer to John and his claim that science does not claim to be “omniscient” etc. I would say…yes it does as a practical matter.

    Atheists all over the net tell me that Science is the only way of knowing…and if they admit that science can’t answer some particular question they say that “it will someday” or pretend like the question is irrelevant.

    Your double standard is laughable.

    As is Ed’s “free”thought.

  16. matty1:

    This is so weird, I’m reading a post at 13 by someone who has been blocked from posting – how is that possible?

  17. joachim:

    Simple, I switched computers and got around it.

    For the moment. Are you really that stupid, Matty?

  18. alanb:

    For those interested in whether the morality of the OT Israelites was superior to those of surrounding peoples, I suggest Is God a Moral Compromiser which is a free PDF at http://thomstark.net/copan/stark_copan-review.pdf. Spoiler alert: In same ways they were better and in some ways worse.

  19. joachim:

    And I will say, thanks for the good time. You all have provided many Priceless Quotes in the thread where the atheists were defending Stalin and Denying the Gulags.

    I will make good use of them elsewhere on the net.

  20. slc1:

    Re matty1 @ #13

    I asume that Mr. Brayton will get around to deleting Mr. joachim’s comments in due time.

  21. jagermech:

    Long time lurker first time poster.

    Scientists creating the possibility of worldwide destruction is not inherently barberous. All technology has the potential to be used against others for various reasons or even accidentally. The technology itself is not barberous. The intent to willfully harm others is the barberous act. I guess joachim would also have decried the discovery and harnessing of fire as a barberous act in and of itself because whoever could harness it could also potentially use it to become the first arsonist.

    By your same reasoning your god must by definition be the most barberous thing in existence because it would have the ability to cause suffering to every single thing capable of feeling pain. How can you not understand that the potential to cause harm is not the same as harm? The reason we say the god of the bible is barberous is not because of the described potential to cause harm but because of the actual harm supposedly done.

  22. joachim:

    Hey alan, in the OT the Jews fought back.

    In more recent times…as in WW Two…they did not and were almost exterminated.

    Thankfully the Allies burned whole German ciities wiping out every living thing.

    The Jews are never going peacefully to the camps again, you Atheist Jew Haters.

    Read up on the Samson Option.

  23. slc1:

    Re joachim @ #19

    Mr. joachim is a fucken liar. Nobody commenting on this blog has defended Stalin; this is a figment of his imagination.

  24. joachim:

    And thanks to jagermech for his claim that creating WMDS is not inherently barbarous.

    Another example of the Atheist Double Dealing “Standard”.

  25. joachim:

    Sick One, please review the post where your pals went on and on about Stalins great abilities.

    Untill I exposed it for the lying propaganda it was.

    You are either willing to lie with impunity, thinking others are too stupid to check, or you are truly delusional.

    Have you been taking drugs this weekend?

  26. joachim:

    Sick One, no. 20…of course, but now you know hes doing it and can’t claim I ran away. He tried to do it without notice but I slipped by him. snicker

  27. slc1:

    Re joachim @ #26

    Mother fucker joachim has incorrectly interpreted the claim that the Soviet Union contributed greatly to the defeat of Nazi Germany as somehow a claim that Stalin had great abilities. Actually, he was a mediocre war leader who profited by the fact that his opponent was even more incompetent. As many and manifest as Stalin’s blunders were before Operation Barbarossa got underway, Frankenberger’s blunders were worse. Just to name one: building the useless battleships Bismarck and Tirpitz instead of ocean going Uboats, which might actually have starved Britain out of the war in 1940.

  28. imrryr:

    (And just because there is not much talk of nuclear Holocaust these days does not mean it isn’t going to happen.)

    Don’t worry, jackass. Whether it happens or doesn’t happen, it would just be another part of God’s plan (like his brilliant flood idea). In the beginning, despite already knowing exactly what was going to happen to everything in the universe (epidemics, wars, famines, etc etc), He went ahead and created the universe and us anyway. Don’t go blaming science for the things His creations do, God could step in right now and change everyone’s hearts if He actually gave a shit. He could’ve stopped defenseless children from dying in the holocaust, or stopped the millions of deaths caused by the various diseases He also created.

    He didn’t do any of that of course, not because He doesn’t care, but because He doesn’t exist.

  29. John Pieret:

    Joachim @ 15

    that science does not claim to be “omniscient” etc. I would say…yes it does as a practical matter.

    Atheists all over the net tell me that Science is the only way of knowing…and if they admit that science can’t answer some particular question they say that “it will someday” or pretend like the question is irrelevent.

    Then what you are criticizing is atheists/atheism, not science. To someone who can’t understand simple categories, everything looks like a double standard.

    Even then I don’t think you understand what you are being told. Few, if any, say that science is omniscient and fewer still (Sam Harris, maybe) claim it is a source of morality.

    What most people who value science say is that it is the best, if not the only, source of “knowledge,” which they contrast with “opinion,” “instinct,” “faith,” “revelation,” and the like. If you bother to understand what they are saying, I think it is hardly controversial. But trolls aren’t interested in understanding or avoiding controversy.

    Even Harris starts with the premise that increasing human well being is “good” and then says that science can empirically determine how best to go about that. The “morality” is in his premise and, as human morals go, isn’t bad. Again, if you and Craig want to accept the Bible as human morality, then I think we can confidently declare Harris’ version as just as advanced over the Bible as you claim the Bible was over its contemporaries.

  30. jagermech:

    Understanding nuclear fission and fusion opened the possibility of killing all living things on earth as well as erasing even the evidence of human civilization with the exception of some extra earth satellites and space probes. It is an awesome amount of power that exists in the very makeup of the atom. Discovering that power is not inherently barberous. Even weaponizing that power is not inherently barberous. Deciding to use the ability to level cities and wipe out a population of people is. It’s a simple distinction. The ability to commit an attrocity is not an attrocity.

  31. whheydt:

    Re; Joachim:

    Start your own blog and you can say pretty much anything you want and no one will try to stop you. Of course, you may not get much traffic if it’s as uniformly inane as what you’ve posted here, but Ed might read your blog and make posts about it.

    Re: Nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

    Actually…more people died from the fire bombing raid of Tokyo than died from the nuclear attacks on Japanese cities, even if you account for later effects such as radiation induced deaths and excess cancer rates. Thus, which is that greater “WMD”, a nuclear weapon or a large fire bombing raid? What about the deliberate creation of a firestorm in Hamburg or Dresden?

    This is not an attempt to excuse any of those actions but to point out that our ability to wage war on a truly massive scale against civilian populations grew faster than our abilities to avoid doing so in the period from World War I through World War II. It is notable that, while poison gases were used by both sides in World War I, and stockpiled by both sides during World War II, in the later war, neither side used them despite conditions that would probably have caused them to be used in World War I and, despite nuclear proliferation, no country since World War II has used a nuclear weapon in anger. Given Saddam Hussein’s use of poison gases against his own people (a worrying development given the number of countries around the world with serious stability problems), it is probably only a matter of time before some fool with a nuke decides to use it. The main hope is that such use will be (a) a small device and (b) will not generate retaliation in kind from any country with more and larger devices.

  32. slc1:

    Re jagermech @ #30

    Actually, an argument could be made that the development of nuclear weapons had a salutary effect. If nuclear weapons had never been developed, there is no doubt in my mind that the US and the Soviet Union would have eventually engaged in WW3. It was the much maligned MAD that caused the governments of both nations to studiously avoid confrontations that might lead to a nuclear exchange, the Cuban Missile Crisis non-withstanding. In fact, had nuclear weapons never existed, the Cuban Missile Crisis might well have degenerated in to WW3.

  33. matty1:

    Joachim

    Are you really that stupid, Matty?

    I feel unqualified to answer and will instead bow to your expert knowledge on the subject of stupidity.

  34. slc1:

    Re matty1 @ #33

    +1

  35. Ed Brayton:

    world class dumbfuck wrote:

    I have answers for all your posts, but the “free”thinker Ed has blocked me.

    And he didn’t even have the guts to say it, I suppose to maintain his facade of being a “free”thinker.

    Is there anything funnier than a comment like that? No one has blocked you, joachim. The fact that this comment went through proves that. Not only did I not block you, I haven’t even looked at the comments on any blog post in more than a day. You’re funny.

  36. shockna:

    I have just a moment before he blocks this one too, but in answer to John and his claim that science does not claim to be “omniscient” etc. I would say…yes it does as a practical matter.

    Atheists all over the net tell me that Science is the only way of knowing…and if they admit that science can’t answer some particular question they say that “it will someday” or pretend like the question is irrelevant.

    “The best means of uncovering knowledge” isn’t the same thing as “omniscient”. “Omniscient” implies that one already has all the answers, which science, by definition, never claims.

    Oh, and you do realize that without science, we wouldn’t have the guns you love so much, right (reference for non-Pharyngulites, joachim was banned on Pharyngula for being a gun extremist)?

  37. slc1:

    Re Ed Brayton @ #35

    Mr. Joachim is not funny ha ha, he’s funny peculiar.

  38. jagermech:

    @slc1
    I agree with you completely that the nuclear capabilities if the US and USSR kept each country from actively engaging in war with each other. The ability of each side to completely destroy each other meant the cold war was fought economically and in periferal conventional conflicts like Korea and Vietnam.

    I was merely stating that the ability to create and potentially deploy nuclear weapons is not inherently moral or immoral. The actual actions taken with the abilities are what can be judged morally. I take it as a good thing for the human race that the only time nuclear weapons have been used was in the infancy of the nuclear age and the weapons were no more destructive than large scale conventional bombing.

  39. Michael Heath:

    Ed writes:

    William Lane Craig seems to spend most of his time debating atheists over the existence of God and other subjects. But when confronted with arguments about the barbarism of God in the Old Testament, he has nothing to offer but terrible arguments like this:

    Some people might infer from Ed’s statement here that Mr. Craig has non-terrible arguments regarding the existence of God and other subjects he debates. That is simply not true; his arguments depend on logical and rhetorical fallacies which are the remedial type. That’s also consistent with others of his ilk, e.g., N. T. Wright, Josh McDowell, Tim LaHaye, Rick Warren, and Albert Mohler, Jr. all come to mind.

    W.L. Craig:

    “It’s against the backdrop of the prophets which explain God’s compassion for the poor and the oppressed and the orphans and widows.”

    Ed shoots a fish in the barrel, although with some rhetorical flair:

    Let’s call this the Adolf Hitler argument. It’s like arguing that because Hitler was a vegetarian and loved animals, that somehow mitigates the fact that he committed genocide.

    I’ve never encountered Craig or any of the aforementioned people directly confront the good attributes they assign to a god who also promises to punish some humans for all eternity. (Though in their defense I haven’t sought it out either.) Perhaps this lame-ass argument would be one of the arrows in their quiver if forced to say or write something on the topic.

  40. joachim:

    John, no. 29 when you say that people who value science hold it to be the best, if not the only source of knowledge you are simply pointing out what I said.

    And that is the atheist versioin of “omniscient” as a practical matter. Note that i said, “as a practical matter”.

    Because what you don’t think science can presently answer you now good and well you believe it will answer someday.

  41. joachim:

    Jagermech tells us that creating nuclear weapons is not inherently moral and immoral.

    In his Morally Relativistic Opinion.

    On the other hand, gambling with the future of the human race seems to be acceptable to most of the Double Standard Dealing Atheists here.

    Once again, I see no positon of Moral Superiority held by the Atheist crowd.

    Human beings reserve the right to fire bomb whole cities…why can’t God?

    You see, after atheists tell us there is no god to tell us what to do, they invariably turn around and tell us…you guessed it…what to do! snicker

  42. joachim:

    That said, you all seem to have a massive hard on for William Lane Craig.

  43. John Pieret:

    John, no. 29 when you say that people who value science hold it to be the best, if not the only source of knowledge you are simply pointing out what I said.

    No, as before, you seem deaf to legitimate categories. If you accept that definition of “knowledge” I gave, then “science” clearly does not claim authority over morality, art, literature or even faith. Thus, what you are criticizing is atheism or some subset thereof (since not all atheists take the position you claim) but not science. But you said we should criticize science.

    Because what you don’t think science can presently answer you now good and well you believe it will answer someday.

    Again, for the value of “knowledge” I indicated, if science can never answer some question, we we will never “know” the answer to it. Of course, if you want to know about it, it would be pretty silly to start with the assumption you will fail. In the meantime, you’re free to your opinion, intuition, revelation or faith about it and everyone else is free to point out that that is all you have.

  44. jagermech:

    @joachim
    Since you seem to love referencing me perhaps you’d care to actually engage me in a conversation.

    Was the discovery of fire inherently moral or immoral? If one or the other then why?

  45. John Pieret:

    Human beings reserve the right to fire bomb whole cities…why can’t God?

    And, of course, if you believe the Bible, he did. The question here is why anyone should think that such a god is any more moral than human beings. Don’t forget that Craig holds to the divine commandment definition of morality: if god orders the slaughter of thousands of infants in cold blood, it is because it is good. What more Morally Relativistic Opinion could there be?

    If I don’t subscribe to that “theory” of morality (see Euthyphro), why shouldn’t I accept the much more parsimonious proposition that the Bible is not the word of god and, instead, is human in origin and reflects human morality (of a particularly primative sort)?

    you all seem to have a massive hard on for William Lane Craig.

    He keeps making these types of arguments and worse.

  46. Modusoperandi:

    joachim “That said, you all seem to have a massive hard on for William Lane Craig.”
    Nobody else does. Just me. I have enough hard on to cover for everybody else. It’s really quite breathtaking.
    It’s not even for WLC. It simply is.

  47. John Pieret:

    I have enough hard on to cover for everybody else.

    Braggart!

  48. mvemjsun:

    “Even the Flood did not poison all future generations” You do not think repopulating a species with a genetic base of two individuals does not fuck up future generations, Other than there being only a few future generatons before extinction those few would be very fucked up.

  49. mvemjsun:

    Sorry forgot to double check before clicking submit. Did not mean a double negative. Should read “Do you think repopulating a species with a genetic base of two individuals does not fuck up future generations?”

  50. dingojack:

    Jokeim – Dr. Jacob Bronowski on knowledge & certainty.
    Dingo
    ——–
    Sorry everyone, I haved posted this (at least) three times before, but it seems it really needs repeating

  51. shockna:

    And that is the atheist versioin of “omniscient” as a practical matter. Note that i said, “as a practical matter”.

    We have our own version of “omniscience”, now, do we? Why is it that all the memos about “our” definitions get sent only to theists? Hmm….

    Because what you don’t think science can presently answer you now good and well you believe it will answer someday.

    Maybe it won’t; in which case, we’ll never be able to determine it. Of course, historically, it’s pretty rare to lose the bet regarding whether science will answer something, if you’re betting on the affirmative.

    Jagermech tells us that creating nuclear weapons is not inherently moral and immoral.

    In his Morally Relativistic Opinion.

    I know this is incomprehensible to the theist mind, but did you ever think that, maybe, morality isn’t 100% binary in all cases?

  52. John Pieret:

    Dingo …

    I don’t think it was ever better illustrated or said.

  53. naturalcynic:

    In more recent times…as in WW Two…they did not and were almost exterminated.

    Thankfully the Allies burned whole German ciities wiping out every living thing.

    And it’s too bad that Kurt Vonnegut didn’t survive Dresden to write Slaughterhouse 5.
    Also see Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Sobibor and Ukraine [and other] partisans as notable exceptions. In most cases, the Jews taken to concentration camps saw themselves in hopeless situations with no credible means of resistance and not knowing their fate.

  54. redmann:

    @joachim (all comments) You remind me of a somewhat clever 13 year old with no real understand of what they are talking about. As to the morality of atheists, it is superior in that we don’t need the carrot and stick of some all-powerful, unprovable entity to maintain our morals. We do the right things because it’s the right thing to do. Of course there are variations across the spectrum of all atheists, so ther will be really good folks and there will be some complete assholes, but we have rationality and evidence on our side; you have some made up shit. While Williamd “Lame” Craig makes really bad arguments (all he really does is make a lot of smooth talking assertions); you “arguments” are powers of 10 worse. If you wish to converse with the adults, you should at least show enough respect to actually listen and try to learn.

  55. joachim:

    Sorry, John, but I don’t accept your arbitrary defintion of “knowledge”.

    And neither do a lot of atheists, like Sam Harris and gang for example. Harris will argue that science can answer anything, someday, even ethical questions.

    And that is the atheist version of Omniscient, as a practical matter.

  56. joachim:

    redman, you haven’t shown that atheists evenknow what the “right thing to do is”. Arguing that you do the right thing to do because it is the right thing to do is arguing in a circle.

    And posters here certainly haven’t shown any great insight as to “the right thing to do”.

    They have variously been defending such things as the developement of Nuclear Weapons and Mutual Assured Destruction.

    I see no evidence of Superior Atheist Morality.

  57. redmann:

    joachim@55 please enlighten us poor misguided fools what knowledge is than.

  58. redmann:

    joachim@56 Oh great one please impart your wisdom of the “right thing to do” on us lowly and confused supplicants.

  59. joachim:

    No. 48, the genetic base was not limited to two individuals.

    And even then, it would not compare to reproduction with irradiated gonads. snicker

  60. joachim:

    Redman, are you conceding that you don’t know the right thing to do, after all?

  61. redmann:

    @59 Of course the evidence from the Bible is inescapable. How could we forget Noah’s daugthers-in-law and their mighty genetic contribution. Isn’t it miraculous that all of the varities in plants and animals we see today were produced in a short 4000 years, not to mention the wonderful way all of the marsupials (except the American opposum) were gathered from and then returned to Australia.

  62. redmann:

    @60 Either you’re a really good Poe or incredibly stupid.

  63. John Pieret:

    joachim @ 55

    Sorry, John, but I don’t accept your arbitrary defintion of “knowledge”.

    Then you have to do better than just hold up people who so define “knowledge” as an “argument.” Tell us why we should have a more expansive definition of “knowlwdge” and why anyone should consider your or Craig’s version of “knowledge” any better or truer.

    And neither do a lot of atheists, like Sam Harris and gang for example. Harris will argue that science can answer anything, someday, even ethical questions.

    I’ve already dealt with that (I brought it up @ 29, or, like most trolls, don’t you bother to read the responses)?

    And that is the atheist version of Omniscient, as a practical matter.

    Repeating yourself without explanation is not an argument. It is an appeal for us to take you at your word. In case you haven’t noticed, you have already closed off that option by your own actions.

  64. tsig:

    “That said, you all seem to have a massive hard on for William Lane Craig.”

    Envy will get you nowhere.

  65. dingojack:

    And on a lighter note – here‘s the (near) perfect rebuttal to jokeim’s ‘arguments’..

    Dingo

  66. Akira MacKenzie:

    For someone more than willing to wave Old Glory on behalf of the “morally superior” god-fearing, U.S., joachim seems to forget that they were first (and only) nation to use nuclear weapons during a war.

  67. John Pieret:

    joachim @ 60

    Redman, are you conceding that you don’t know the right thing to do, after all?

    So, how do you or Craig know what know the right thing to do is? How do you or Craig know that killing infants for the sins of their parents is wrong (assuming you don’t want to defend that it is right)?

    Now we are back to where this thread started. Craig was saying that the Old Testament was more moral than the moral codes of its day. He was making a judgment. Does that mean that god, over the course of mere human history, is becoming more moral? How could a being who was omnibenevolent and omniscient from the beginning do that? Does it mean that god is only as moral as the beings he has to work with? Then why should we think he’s there at all when it comes to morals? Does it mean that everything that you or Craig think god has ordered is moral? What if I think that god wants you or Craig killed?

    The simple fact is that your “arguments” here have proven beyond reasonable doubt that you have no claim to knowledge of what is moral but you have equally failed to give any reason not to be sceptical of claims that the Old Testament in any way counts as a moral code.

  68. mvemjsun:

    “genetic base was not limited to two individuals” For other animals it was. For the human animal it was 6 unless 600 year old Noah had more kids, You need 50 or more not 6. Oh and with god’s rule against incest (a good rule indeed) It would stop with Noah’s grand kids since the only people to have babies with would be parents, siblings, or first cousins.

  69. mvemjsun:

    I forgot aunts/uncles/nieces/nephews but they are forbidden too

  70. aaronbaker:

    “These highly singular commands need to be read against the background of the whole of the Old Testament which includes the great moral law that is given by God which is head and shoulders above other ancient near eastern moral and legal codes . . . .”

    Head and shoulders above the Sumerians and other Mesopotamians? I’d like to hear some specifics, as my takeaway from the Bible is that Ancient Israel was quite a bit more barbaric than its most civilized neighbors. Mass-slaugher as a dedication (herem) to one’s god is something I’ve missed in my reading about Sumerians and Babylonians.

  71. Marcus Ranum:

    Speaking of barbarism, by a god you don’t even think exists, do you also decry the barabarism of modern Science…which has provided WMD’s that could destroy civilization in an afternoon and poison the earth for millenia?

    By your reasoning:
    Whose clever idea was it to leave fissionable/fusible materials lying around all over the planet? God’s!
    Who invented bacteria and viruses that can be turned into bioweapons? God!
    Who created modern scientists with brains that could figure out how to release the energy of nuclear fission? God!
    Who created boring christian apologists!? GOD!

  72. Marcus Ranum:

    posters here certainly haven’t shown any great insight as to “the right thing to do”.

    Like you, I am a moral nihilist; I withold judgement on the notion of right and wrong because it appears to me that there is no objective way to tell which is which. I act based on my aesthetics and by projecting my own selfishness onto others. (Which is why, for example, I assume everyone in the world likes pizza – some of them just don’t realize it) So while I reject the meaning of morals I can say “I sure would hate to be nuked. And I’m guessing that most people would. Therefore I don’t think it’s likely that nuking people is a good thing.” In the absence of a notion of right and wrong, I still try to do what I think makes sense because it’s what I think being a nice person living a pleasant life would be like. Yeah, me and Kant.

    Why do I say I’m a moral nihilist like you? Because, if you claim that your morals came from god, then you also have to consider the source of this knowledge – namely the various writings humans have done about god. If you look at the alleged actions of god in those writings, it’s impossible to draw a consistent morality from them either. The morality you learn from the writings about god is inconsistent and contradictory therefore you have nothing from which to extrapolate further. What does god think about abortion? You can’t tell because god actually thinks killing is just fine except for when he doesn’t. So you’re left in worse shape: not only do you not have any morality of your own, you’ve got an incoherent jumble foisted off on you by a psychotic god. You’re not only a moral nihilist, you’re a moral coward as well, since you’re unwilling to take upon yourself the difficult problem of trying to figure out what you think is right and wrong. You probably can’t even lean back (as I do) on “what I think works for me…” because you’re accepting that the asshole god really doesn’t want you to suffer a witch to live (but remember: thou shalt not kill) – what a load of head-exploding fail.

  73. Marcus Ranum:

    the great moral law that is given by God which is head and shoulders above other ancient near eastern moral and legal codes

    Really? Can you tell me some of the contradictions in Hammurabi’s code? Then can you explain why god says not to kill and then gives you a great big list of things people should be killed for? Hammurabi’s code is all over the moral law that humans wrote down and attributed to god.

    Unlike Hammurabi’s code, which we have pretty good reason to actually believe was Hammurabi’s and originated under his reign, and that he actually existed – the laws ascribed to god are unattributed and the story of their transmission to humans is highly suspect. We have a vastly better basis to believe that Hammurabi’s laws actually were approved by Hammurabi (although some pieces appear to be Akkadian) in origin.

    As far as the moral values of Hammurabi’s code – it deals with contracts and the presumption of innocence on the part of the accused. That latter point makes Hammurabi’s code a vastly superior set of laws than anything that has come out of any of the gods, since it acknowledges the logical impossibility of proving a negative and is therefore based on some excellent philosophical reasoning rather than what some random guy claims god thinks.

    Hammurabi claims a divine imprimatur but does not claim divine origin to his laws; they are mortal laws for mortals. Which also means Hammurabi’s system of laws is vastly superior to the contradictory mass of injunctions attributed to the gods. Gods who didn’t even take the time to offer us an all-wise answer to Socrates’ challenge to Euthyphro. Puny gods.

    Score at the end of 1st inning is: Hammurabi: 1 God: 0

  74. dingojack:

    Marcus – so Hammurabi is a terrible batsman and god can’t bowl?
    Maybe they should both go down to the cricket-nets once in a while. Get some practice in.

    :) Dingo

  75. imrryr:

    @dingojack – Could God create a game with rules so confusing even He couldn’t play it? ;)

  76. democommie:

    “Simple, I switched computers and got around it. For the moment. Are you really that stupid, Matty?

    Switching computers? Whoa!

    I think that your mom must be very tolerant of you whanking away in the laundry room while you play your KKKristian RocKKK at earsplitting levels and yell at the screen on her OLD ‘puter.

    But, when she comes home and finds out that you’ve been on her NEW unit, and left cheeto stains all over her best white linen tablecloth she will be so pissed that she’ll put new passwords on everything and return those tickets she bought for you to go to Dave (Cu)Mustaine’s next show.

  77. kermit.:

    joachim@22: Thankfully the Allies burned whole German ciities wiping out every living thing.
    .
    and in his very next post
    .
    And thanks to jagermech for his claim that creating WMDS is not inherently barbarous.
    Another example of the Atheist Double Dealing “Standard”.</I.

    Some posters simply write their own snark.

  78. Moggie:

    imrryr:

    Could God create a game with rules so confusing even He couldn’t play it?

    No need, when Dwarf Fortress already exists.

  79. Ichthyic:

    Is there anything funnier than a comment like that? No one has blocked you, joachim. The fact that this comment went through proves that. Not only did I not block you, I haven’t even looked at the comments on any blog post in more than a day. You’re funny.

    no, he’s not funny, he’s repetetive, inane, and very irritating.

    he detracts from every thread he posts in.

    if you ever considered banning someone Ed, this would be the one.

  80. baal:

    @ mvemjsun – The problem of missing spouses was solved back in genesis. You just head a little bit to the east and visit the land of Nod and find someone there. The post flood Noah family could do the same.

    @ WLC – the whole of the Old Testament is one horror(or morally iffy act) after another. I don’t think the umbrella ‘god’s plan’ saves him from being called barbaric.

  81. Ichthyic:

    I have enough hard on to cover for everybody else. It’s really quite breathtaking.
    It’s not even for WLC. It simply is.

    I’m now picturing this as a caption below this picture doing the rounds on FB….

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/65941_10151461469179297_1994010996_n.jpg

  82. John Pieret:

    To give him his humor creds, he actually showed up at my blog under the nym “Emanuel Goldstein” (missing an “m” but telling nonetheless) and said this:

    http://dododreams.blogspot.com/2013/02/destroy-it-to-save-it.html

    John, over at the Ed Brayton blog you claimed science does not claim to be omniscient, all knowing, etc.

    I answered you, but Ed is blocking my posts. …

    And I bet you don’t have the Guts to over there and tell them that Joachim and I have been blocked…

    As I asked him, “Are you seriously claiming to be two separate people or is this the royal dissociative identity disorder?”

  83. democommie:

    Jokehim is a douche and any activity, aside from abusing him, is a waste of time.

  84. Raging Bee:

    Sorry, John, but I don’t accept your arbitrary defintion of “knowledge”.

    Because when joachim hears a word, it means what HE wants it to mean, no more, no less.

    I have just a moment before he blocks this one too…

    Oh my, aren’t we dramatic! Are you trying to comment in the style of “War of the Worlds” radio commentary? (Protip: you’re no Orson Welles.)

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