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Atheist Tuesday: Ted Bundy’s Atheistic Values

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Ted Bundy was a notorious serial killer who confessed to murdering over thirty victims, as well as other horrible crimes. Ted Bundy had a philosophy about morality that allowed him to do these horrible things. (Hint: Remove God from the equation.)

In his own words, read his twisted moral observations and answer a few questions afterward:

“Then I learned that all moral judgments are ‘value judgments,’ that all value judgments are subjective [it just depends on how you think about them], and that none can be proved to be either ‘right’ or ‘wrong’…

…I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable “value judgment that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others?’ Other human beings with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’?

In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me – after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.” (Christian Research Journal, Vol 33, No 2, 2010, 32)

Atheist friend, what is your answer to this question:

On what moral grounds can you provide a response to Bundy?

*****

103 Comments

  1. Vagon says:
    February 13, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    “So on what moral ground do I answer him? I say on the morals of society, in that across the board MOST people regardless of their beliefs or non-beliefs can agree that slaughtering your fellow human beings for sport is wrong.”

    Well it seems the Romans thought it was ok, I recall the colossem was rather popular wasnt it? But no matter how you try to argue it , you can only have relative morals from this , you cannot then objectivty condem slavery or even a Hitler, if he had not invaded other nations for example and only just exterminated the Jews,Gypsies,Communists,Homosexuals withing the borders of Germany , and its society accepted it who can disagree?

    But, our nations founding fathers knew something, that mankind has a creator and you know full well what they wrote in the declaration of independance

    “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” —

    Vagon thats a more solid foundation to build on, then popular opnion. Atheism cannot provide any aboslute truths about human rights it can only produce relative ones and even then cannot logically defend them.

    I know you guys want to think we are stupid to think that Human value can only be from an objective standared, ie GOD but im in good company with the founders of our Nation, they know what they are talking about.

  2. Ryan – I’m getting your context. Now, in your view is the only reason to not rape and murder because God declares it bad?

  3. Aw, Ryan. Now you’re just showing that you’re reading into things just to fit your preconceptions.

    Yes, the Declaration says “endowed by their Creator.” Now (and you’re going to love this part), does it actually say “Jesus” in there? You’re aware that many of the Founding Fathers (including Jefferson, who framed the whole thing) were what we call “Deists” – a scary little group who believe that the Universe was created by an uncaring God. (Go look up “the Jefferson Bible” to see his feelings on THAT subject.)

    Now, thanks to the Old Testament, if you’ve been paying attention, you should already know that I can justify slavery, rape, murder, genocide and abortion, among other things. Very little of which is repudiated by the New Testament, which has a much tighter focus.

    Now, rather than reinvent the wheel, let me just quote another wise man, who was recently faced with a variant on that question:

    “• Taller human beings are smarter then shorter human beings (they make more money and are better respected by their colleagues).

    • Tall men are much more wanted by females then short men are (for mating/financial security). thus by an evolutionary reasoning we can see that taller men are much better suited for survival in life.

    If evolution is true then why shouldn’t I kill short men? I mean what are they good for? I am taller then them and thus smarter and much better fit to mate with females. (I can provide them with a better life, thanks to evolution (my height). So if evolution is a fact and God is not real then why shouldn’t I kill short men?”

    His response:

    “I really wish Arvin had bothered to tell me how tall he is; I think that is an essential datum here. If he’s less than 5’11” or 180 cm, I should hunt him down and kill him because he is too short, while if he is taller than I am, I should hunt him down and kill him in self-defense.

    It’s a strange world Arvin thinks we should be living in — one where, if they aren’t controlled by a magic slave-owner in the sky, we’d wander about killing and raping. I wonder about people like Arvin. Why don’t they ever imagine that, if we abandoned biblical authority, we might wander the earth drinking beer occasionally, watching TV, and working hard at our jobs so we can afford that vacation to Disneyworld? You know, the kind of stuff most people do right now.

    The short answer to Arvin’s goofy but all-too-common question is this: morality is not obedience. Morality derives from empathy and a sense of communal obligation with our fellow human beings, not with an arbitrary and whimsical supernatural authority. Destroy god, and people still live…so nothing would change for me.

    Arvin, on the other hand, would be going on a rampage with a yardstick, losing sight of the fact that other people are something more than meat of a certain height and sex, raping and killing. Arvin really ought to see a psychiatrist. He’s an emotionally and intellectually stunted individual.”

  4. Ryan, you are ignoring everyone’s comments and screaming that we aren’t just buying into your unfounded assertion.

    Again, what is wrong with a subjective moral code if a majority agrees with it? Especially one that respects the minority that disagrees with it AND can allow the minority to form their own societies if there can be no compromise.

  5. @Nohm
    Thanks for the clarifications regarding what their justification for “not believing that we do not believe” is. Since Ryan, nor Steve, replied to tell me that I was wrong (or right), I can safely assume that your explications confirm that they sincerely do not believe us. It’s kind of strange as we do believe them when they say they believe, even if we don’t ourselves, so I guess that makes a huge difference in the way we interpret discussion.

    *******

    Once again, I am really impressed by the patience of fellow non-believers over here, who try their best to explain, over and over again, how we can make moral judgment and take ethical decision, without a God.
    (God is supposed to be without a capital ‘G’ here by the way, but I don’t want to be censored…)

    What I understand from the “discussion” between Ryan and others here, (and I put discussion in quotes because he does not really reply to anything), is that the issue is not really about determining what’s moral or not.

    Ryan does not really care on how Atheists form moral judgement; he is pretty clear on that, and that’s why there is no real discussion on what’s moral or not, and why. What he seems to really care about, is how Atheists can have an ABSOLUTE moral judgement on anything. The problem here is obvious: Atheists, in general, or at least the ones commenting here, do NOT believe that their moral system is absolute. We all (or mostly) agree that individuals are the ultimate judges of what’s right or wrong.

    There are of course moral judgement that we agree to be “universal”, or as close as it can be. That does not make the moral system used more universal however, and that is what Ryan does not understand. Anything that is “universal” is universal only because most people agree it is. That’s how we perceive it. hat Ryan is trying to do, is ask us to provide a moral framework that agrees with his idea of absolute morality when we precisely say that we do not believe in such absolute morality. Because of that, he claims that we are not able to say why it was wrong for Person X to commit ‘bad’ action Y… and he is totally correct!

    So let me make that clear, yes Ryan, in a way, is correct when he says that we cannot say that what Person X does is bad… for Person X! WE, as individual, think it was bad, but we have no way of saying that for him it was bad. From a non-absolute moral point of view, we, as individuals, are NOT saying what is moral for others or not. We are saying: action Y is bad, for ME.

    But what is the point here? That is what I don’t understand. What is Ryan trying to prove exactly? He is basically saying that because we cannot say that Person X ‘must’ find something immoral, WE cannot label it as immoral either. That does not make sense to me. WE label it as immoral, and WE all, or almost all, agree. If Person X does not agree, Person X is going to be an outcast and society will have to deal with Person X so that he/she does not ruin that society.

    What is the problem with that? We have good reasons to believe that action Y is bad, and we think that Person X is wrong for not agreeing. What more can we do?

    In other words, Ryan’s “challenge” is similar to an Atheist asking him: you cannot provide a moral system where God is not the judge, I am not going to discuss morality with you before you show me how your morality system works without God. What would be the point!?

    P.S. Sorry for the length…

  6. For what its worth I will answer this.

    “Vagon thats a more solid foundation to build on, then popular opnion.”

    Ryan you are incorrect. You have no foundation, it is arbitrary in the purest sense.

    “Atheism cannot provide any aboslute truths about human rights it can only produce relative ones and even then cannot logically defend them.”

    Incorrect it can and does, did you read 1 part c)?. I exist. To know I exist I have to have conciousness. To be concious of existence I have to have identity. These are three absolute truths. They are not relative, they are true for every man and they give every man his human rights.

    Ryan, do you think you should be making sweeping statements on subject you clearly do not even have an introductory knowledge of?

    Ironically your philosophy of mysticism accepts unfounded or broken terms from its foundation. To demand atheists have no objective morals is to fulfil the definition of a hypocrite.

    Its never to late to learn and I hope you will stop making proclamations and start asking intelligent inquiries.

    Take care.

  7. Nameless Cynic says:
    February 14, 2011 at 10:44 am
    Aw, Ryan. Now you’re just showing that you’re reading into things just to fit your preconceptions.

    Yes, the Declaration says “endowed by their Creator.” Now (and you’re going to love this part), does it actually say “Jesus” in there?

    Oh please your smarter then this I hope because you cant really be that ignorant of early American History!, The founding fathers where for the most part Christians or Theists who came from a Judeo-Christian worldview,
    and “God” incorporates Father, Son , Holy Spirit, the Triune God . They wrote to their audience and their audience KNEW what they were talking about , context does matter you see , but context is the bane of the atheist so you have nothing left but to play word games because you really cant explain it away.

  8. Vagon says:
    February 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm
    For what its worth I will answer this.

    “Vagon that’s a more solid foundation to build on, then popular opinion.”

    Ryan you are incorrect. You have no foundation, it is arbitrary in the purest sense.

    Why are your morals superior to Ted Bundys?

    …I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable “value judgment that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these ‘others?’ Other human beings with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog’s life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as ‘moral’ or ‘good’ and others as ‘immoral’ or ‘bad’?

    Vagon since man is only an animal since special creation from a Creator is clearly out of the picture for you, you cannot prove Ted was Evil no matter you try to be clever, your opinion is not better then his , after all he died getting away with Murder , his victims do not remember their horrific deaths, he certainly doesn’t exist anymore in a conscience state according to Atheism.

    Vagon you know of course how Lions hunt in Africa, they prey on the weak and the vulnerable , are they evil? or is it by instinct?

    Ted Bundy is also an animal according to Atheism and he preyed on the weak and vulnerable so how can it not be by instinct also?.

    whats the difference?

    So you see in fact its YOUR foundations which are based on illusion and are proven arbitrary in how they assign values.

    The Biblical world view is solid and firm, Man is above the animals man has been made in the image of his Creator , therefore Man has Value and has morals because God’s imprint is upon him.

  9. Hugo,

    The problem is that the Christian mindset feels that there is such a thing as an “absolute.” Everything is black-and-white, and shades of gray are the work of the Devil.

    They’ve got their Ten Commandments, where God saith “Do THIS! Don’t do THAT!” and that’s the last word on the subject. No, really, it is!

    …except when it isn’t. That’s why they have the field called “apologetics” – efforts to reconcile the parts of the “Unalterable Word of God” that contradict each other, don’t match reality, or are just plain silly.

    “Thou shalt not kill.” Does this rule apply to self-defense? (Does “turn the other cheek” fit into this somewhere?) And please ignore the army in the corner.

    “Abortion is a sin!” Try not to think about the times in the Old Testament when God said “thou shalt abort.” And what about that old question “if you could go back in time and met Hitler’s pregnant mom…?” (Sadly, not all of them even agree that the life of the mom should be considered.)

    “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Unless he’s Muslim. Or gay. Or if you watch Fox News, because they’re all about finding new people to hate. (And really, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”? Isn’t that a weak justification? “No, really, I love you, but I hate a central part of your personality, and everything you do.”)

    Oh, and about 80% of the stuff in Leviticus and Exodus that they say not to do? Yeah, ignore that. “Garments of two different threads” – that cotton-poly shirt you got on has a dispensation from the Pope. “Don’t approach the altar with a defect in your sight” – we’ll just pretend your glasses don’t count, OK? “But your Honor! My son talked back to me! I had to kill him! Says so in the Bible!” – that excuse always goes over well, doesn’t it?

  10. Good conclusion Vagon! Your concise answer concerning the very few things that we can honestly consider as ‘absolute truths’ is more meaningful than most of what has been written here.

    Take care people,

    Cya in a few weeks/months…

  11. That is very interesting. While our comments were waiting for approbations, we got the following gems:

    Ryan Shirtz says:
    “…So you see in fact its YOUR foundations which are based on illusion and are proven arbitrary in how they assign values.

    The Biblical world view is solid and firm, Man is above the animals man has been made in the image of his Creator , therefore Man has Value and has morals because God’s imprint is upon him.”

    Which shows that he does not even try to understand the other point of view. He, again, falls into non-sense talking and says that a non-absolute moral framework is bogus because it is… non-absolute!

    Then, at the same time, we have Nameless Cynic who wrote:

    “The problem is that the Christian mindset feels that there is such a thing as an “absolute.” Everything is black-and-white, and shades of gray are the work of the Devil.

    They’ve got their Ten Commandments, where God saith “Do THIS! Don’t do THAT!” and that’s the last word on the subject. No, really, it is!

    …except when it isn’t.”

    …and then he shows very good examples supporting his point. Something Ryan does not even try to do, he just asserts!

    I love the contrast between the two interventions 🙂

    Cheers

  12. Ryan wrote:

    Oh please your smarter then this I hope because you cant really be that ignorant of early American History!, The founding fathers where for the most part Christians or Theists who came from a Judeo-Christian worldview,
    and “God” incorporates Father, Son , Holy Spirit, the Triune God . They wrote to their audience and their audience KNEW what they were talking about

    Ryan, you might want to do research on this subject before you spout off on it. Saying that the founding fathers were mostly Christians, certainly in the way that you would view “Christians”, is incorrect.

    Exactly which of the founding fathers do you view as “Christian”, as you use the word?

    Then saying that these people believed in the Triune God? Now you’re really going off-course.

    Exactly which of the founding fathers do you think believed in the Triune God?

    Lastly, Ryan wrote: “but context is the bane of the atheist

    Please support this claim or retract it.

    so you have nothing left but to play word games because you really cant explain it away.

    You’re wrong. Now, I’ll ask again: Is your God saying “no” the only thing stopping you from murdering people?

  13. Ryan,

    Even if both lions and humans are animals, do you seriously see no difference between them? Do you ever think that you’re typing to lions on here? Or bears?

    Here’s the bigger issue. This whole issue of morality, empathy, where they come from, the neurology of the whole thing… can easily be researched online.

    Why don’t you do that? Why don’t you go to the experts instead of asking people on a blog?

    And, most importantly, you still view atheism as a “worldview”. You will continue to be confused if you keep this up. Atheism is not a “worldview”. The sooner you accept and understand this, the better you’ll be able to understand.

    In short, you’re working from unfounded premises.

  14. “Why are your morals superior to Ted Bundys?”

    The moral choice is the application of a rational action. My morals are superior to Bundy for the same reason they are superior to yours: they are based on a rational foundation.

    “…I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable…” etc etc

    Do you want me to address Bundy’s claims? I’m happy to do so, but I want to be sure you wont waste my time. With that in mind will you give assurance that you wont simply ignore what I say without learning from it?

    “Vagon since man is only an animal since special creation from a Creator is clearly out of the picture for you, you cannot prove Ted was Evil no matter you try to be clever, your opinion is not better then his , after all he died getting away with Murder , his victims do not remember their horrific deaths, he certainly doesn’t exist anymore in a conscience state according to Atheism.”

    On what basis do you assume to think I cannot prove what Bundy did was wrong? I know you Christian mystics think your religion gives you special powers, but I wasn’t aware mind reading was one of them.

    Again in this instance I’m happy to prove you wrong, but will you make an effort to learn?

    “Vagon you know of course how Lions hunt in Africa, they prey on the weak and the vulnerable , are they evil? or is it by instinct?

    Ted Bundy is also an animal according to Atheism and he preyed on the weak and vulnerable so how can it not be by instinct also?.

    whats the difference?”

    You continue to conflate atheism with a philosophy, which is again a category error. Atheism can be a part of a philosophy, but it isn’t one in and of itself.

    To address your concern over the sinister nature of lions, man is a rational animal whereas a lion is not. It is the choice to act rationally that defines morality. A lion cannot rationally pursue anything because it lacks rationality. Ted Bundy did not, and you coincidently do not, live rationally.

    “So you see in fact its YOUR foundations which are based on illusion and are proven arbitrary in how they assign values.”

    This is an empty statement, negated by the fact I have taken steps to prove otherwise. You could follow them to their conclusion, but you do not. In contrast I examine and reject nearly everything you’ve put forward and all the while you offer no defence.

    “The Biblical world view is solid and firm, Man is above the animals man has been made in the image of his Creator , therefore Man has Value and has morals because God’s imprint is upon him.”

    I’m sure it is well indoctrinated, but why should I care? You haven’t presented anything to support your doctrine. Considering you fellas haven’t been able to support this philosophy for the last 2000 or so years I’m not surprised. Or have you something compelling to add?

  15. Traffic signals result from an “atheistic” system of morality, yet I’m willing to bet Steve and Ryan eagerly obey them.

    Care to comment on this?

  16. Hi Nohm

    Some of our founding fathers that were Christians for your reference:
    Samuel Adams, John Dickinson, John Hancock, John Jay, John Langdon, Benjamin Rush. Some of these signed our Constitution others the Declaration of Independence. There are many more to add to the list. There is a cool ministy you can Google which is called: Wall Builders which will give you some interesting historical facts about the men and women that founded this great country. So let’s be honest here and at least acknowledge that the USA was definitely founded on biblical principles by Bible believing Christians. Even our coinage still says: IN GOD WE TRUST. And guess what? For the majority of Americans – that’s exactly what we’ll keep doing – trusting in God!

    Not sure why this discussion on morality is getting so complicated either.
    Very simply: if your morals don’t come from God then that leaves only one alternative and that is morals come from man.

    And we don’t need to talk too much about “man” and what he is capable of and the contradictions, etc For every person posting on this blog will have their own opinion of right and wrong. Speaking to an Atheist once he told me that he saw things improving in the world. And he was sincere about it. I think a glimpse at the news, and the abortion rate, rape, murder, etc is all UP! Wars are going off all over the world. So we’re not exactly “evolving” for the better are we? No I would argue that ever since the whole separation of church and state this country has quickly gone downhill. You can agree or not.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
    The fool has said in his heart there is no God.

  17. John Adams
    Signer of the Declaration of Independence and Second President of the United States

    [I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.

    (Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, 1854), Vol. IX, p. 401, to Zabdiel Adams on June 21, 1776.)

    [W]e have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    (Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)

    The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

  18. John Quincy Adams

    Sixth President of the United States

    The law given from Sinai was a civil and municipal as well as a moral and religious code; it contained many statutes . . . of universal application-laws essential to the existence of men in society, and most of which have been enacted by every nation which ever professed any code of laws.

    (Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams, to His Son, on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), p. 61.)

    There are three points of doctrine the belief of which forms the foundation of all morality. The first is the existence of God; the second is the immortality of the human soul; and the third is a future state of rewards and punishments. Suppose it possible for a man to disbelieve either of these three articles of faith and that man will have no conscience, he will have no other law than that of the tiger or the shark. The laws of man may bind him in chains or may put him to death, but they never can make him wise, virtuous, or happy.

    (Source: John Quincy Adams, Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings (Auburn: James M. Alden, 1850), pp. 22-23.)

  19. Hi Dennis, speaking about morals coming from man you mentioned:

    “we don’t need to talk too much about “man” and what he is capable of and the contradictions, etc For every person posting on this blog will have their own opinion of right and wrong.”

    Simply because men act irrationally does not mean morals are not from men, nor does it mean we cannot form objective morals.

    “Speaking to an Atheist once he told me that he saw things improving in the world. And he was sincere about it. I think a glimpse at the news, and the abortion rate, rape, murder, etc is all UP! Wars are going off all over the world. So we’re not exactly “evolving” for the better are we?”

    Evolution isn’t about getting “better” its about being able to replicate certain genes more effectively.

    “No I would argue that ever since the whole separation of church and state this country has quickly gone downhill. You can agree or not.”

    Well then if you would, pease feel free to argue, but make sure you provide something compelling or else you will lack a point.

    “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”

    Have you read Matthew 5:22?

    ‘But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.’

    Take care Dennis.

  20. Hi Vagon

    Not sure why you bring up Matthew 5:22? I didn’t call you a “fool” – God calls you a fool. Big difference…. I am actually praying for all of you that God would open eyes to see, and open ears to hear. So don’t expect any name calling out of me.

    Have you read:

    Isaiah 45:22 – 24 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked; Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, ‘in the Lord alone are righteousness and strength.'”

  21. Wall Builders which will give you some interesting historical facts

    Interesting? Oh, I completely agree. Facts? Not so much.

    Also, you listed six people there, Dennis. Ryan claimed that “The founding fathers where for the most part Christians or Theists who came from a Judeo-Christian worldview”.

    Now, you could spin that to mean that “for the most part” dealt with “theists who came from a judeo-christian worldview”, although I have to giggle at the use of “judeo” there.

    But if you’re a believer of that “Wall Builders” group, it’s obvious that we’re just going to talk past each other, and I don’t have enough interest in that particular subject (founding fathers) to spend time doing a debate on it.

    No I would argue that ever since the whole separation of church and state this country has quickly gone downhill. You can agree or not.

    I don’t agree. Fortunately, I actually have metrics that support my opinion. Do you? If you were to argue that this country has gone downhill since then (and exactly when do you think “then” was?), I’m happy to read that argument. Please make sure that your conclusion follows from the premises, and that it contains no logical fallacies. Also, it would probably be wise to fashion it in a way that would be persuasive to people who don’t already agree with you.

    Thanks!

  22. Hi Dennis, I am not saying you are going to hell for calling me a fool, hell doesn’t exist. What I am pointing out is “whosoever” wrote Psalm 14.1, which you quoted without reference directly conflicts with Matthew 5:22.

    Aside from the bible contradicting itself (QED) to use it as proof for some deity given morals is circular. So while I have read Isaiah it neither supports your position nor detracts from moral from rationality.

  23. Aw, Dennis wants to play Deuling Quotes! Isn’t that cute?

    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

    I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.

    The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason: The Morning Daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle.

    Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.

    John Adams (1735-1826)

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!

    What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because of suspected heresy? Remember the Index Expurgato-rius, the Inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter, and the guillotine; and, oh! horrible, the rack! This is as bad, if not worse, than a slow fire. Nor should the Lion’s Mouth be forgotten. Have you considered that system of holy lies and pious frauds that has raged and triumphed for 1,500 years?

    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

    Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the common law.

    The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.

    History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

    In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. It is easier to acquire wealth and power by this combination than by deserving them, and to effect this, they have perverted the purest religion ever preached to man into mystery and jargon, unintelligible to all mankind, and therefore the safer engine for their purposes.

    The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

    James Madison (1751-1836)

    The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.

    Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.

    What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient allies.

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

    Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) OK, so not technically a “Founding Father,” but certainly an important Historical-American

    My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.

    The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession.

  24. Hi Nameless Cynic

    Dueling quotes? Nah. Just showing that most founders of this country did indeed profess to be christian and believe the bible. That’s all.
    Most of your quotes also talk about the Catholic Church and “religion” and so I wouldn’t argue too much with you there about distancing yourself from religion.

    Salvation is a gift of God – by grace alone. By faith alone.
    None of man’s works or good deeds or keeping to religious rules will earn him a place in heaven. A million hail mary’s – a billion good deeds -all meaningless.

    We’re all pretty much like the thief on the cross – a breath away from judgment and you either cry out to Christ for mercy and believe in Him – OR – reject Him (like the other thief) and as the bible warns you’ll end up in Hell.

    Anyways – let’s stop the rabbit trail and back to the topic.
    Ted Bundy claims moral judgments are “value judgments” and when you take God (or any other supreme authority) out of the equation he is correct. As an Atheist you would have no higher authority when it comes to right and wrong judgments then what you decide for yourself.
    You make yourself to be a god.

  25. To Nameless: Tit for Tat:

    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

    SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION; DIPLOMAT; PRINTER; SCIENTIST; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA

    As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of morals and His religion as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see.30

    The body of Benjamin Franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book, its contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and guilding, lies here, food for worms. Yet the work itself shall not be lost; for it will, as he believed, appear once more in a new and more beatiful edition, corrected and amended by the Author.31 (FRANKLIN’S EULOGY THAT HE WROTE FOR HIMSELF)

    John Adams (1735-1826)

    SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; JUDGE; DIPLOMAT; ONE OF TWO SIGNERS OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECOND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

    The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.1

    The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. . . . There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation.2

    Without religion, this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company: I mean hell.3

    The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.4

    Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . . . What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be!5

    I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.

    Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

    SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; DIPLOMAT; GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA; SECRETARY OF STATE; THIRD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

    The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.64

    The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses.65

    I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.66

    I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

    James Madison (1751-1836)

    SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; FRAMER OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS; SECRETARY OF STATE; FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

    A watchful eye must be kept on ourselves lest, while we are building ideal monuments of renown and bliss here, we neglect to have our names enrolled in the Annals of Heaven.72

    I have sometimes thought there could not be a stronger testimony in favor of religion or against temporal enjoyments, even the most rational and manly, than for men who occupy the most honorable and gainful departments and [who] are rising in reputation and wealth, publicly to declare their unsatisfactoriness by becoming fervent advocates in the cause of Christ; and I wish you may give in your evidence in this way.

    Source with attributions: http://www.wallbuilders.com

    Abraham Lincoln

    When I left Springfield [Illinois, to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.

    Source: Abraham Lincoln, The Lincoln Memorial: Album-Immortelles. Osborn H. Oldroyd, editor (New York: G.W. Carleton & Co, 1882) p. 366, Reply to an Illinois Clergyman.

  26. Ted Bundy claims moral judgments are “value judgments” and when you take God (or any other supreme authority) out of the equation he is correct. As an Atheist you would have no higher authority when it comes to right and wrong judgments then what you decide for yourself.
    You make yourself to be a god.
    Correct: we make value judgments based on the information available.

    A vast majority of the people gladly give up their freedom to murder, rape and steal in return for protection against the same. It’s an evolved (THE HORROR) instinct to cooperate with other members of our species. It’s why we’re so successful.

    No, you can’t say Bundy is absolutely wrong. But we don’t need to. In the context of building of a safer, civilizied society, Bundy is wrong. I supposed if a meaningful number of us we’re born as sociopaths, Bundy might be right, but I also don’t see us surviving long as a species if we were.

    Context is key. If I told you a man shot another man, you might say it was wrong. But if the context was a soldier shooting an armed terrorist, it doesn’t seem so wrong. You may STILL say it’s wrong because there are alternatives to murder. Life is not just black and white, there are murky shades of gray where we have to calmly discuss our views on things.

    Still, some issues like Bundy’s actions, are pretty easy to get an agreement on. For us humans, that behavior just doesn’t work for us.

  27. Dennis wrote: “Just showing that most founders of this country did indeed profess to be christian and believe the bible.

    Most? You listed only six people, Dennis! Am I to believe that there were fewer than founding fathers?

    Dennis wrote: “Ted Bundy claims moral judgments are “value judgments” and when you take God (or any other supreme authority) out of the equation he is correct.

    You can agree with Ted Bundy, a serial killer. I don’t.

    Stating that you only get your morals from a “supreme authority” also lends itself to major problems: Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?

    Which is it, Dennis?

    As an Atheist you would have no higher authority when it comes to right and wrong judgments then what you decide for yourself.

    Which is why we have courthouses. Because maybe I am not a “higher authority”, but society is. And our society of both religious and secular people says, “we don’t want people killing other people, because I or my loved ones might be one of the people killed.” And we all agree on that, except for extreme nutballs such as Ted Bundy. A serial killer. Who you agree with.

    You make yourself to be a god.

    Incorrect. We make ourselves a society that works.

    I’ll ask you, Dennis, the same question we’ve been asking Ryan, who seems to refuse to answer:

    Is God saying “no” the only thing stopping you from killing your friends?

  28. Steve wrote:

    Source with attributions: http://www.wallbuilders.com

    Oh man, Nameless, have some fun with THAT. 🙂

  29. Gah, I missed the word “twelve” above.

    My sentence should have been:

    Am I to believe that there were fewer than twelve founding fathers?

  30. Hey, I can play this game!

    “I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.66

    I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

    Jefferson did not believe Jesus was God. He considered Jesus a ‘great reformer.’ When he spoke of being “attached to His doctrines in preference to all others” he was saying, among other things, that he rejected the doctrine of the Trinity. He thought this was a pagan add-on. He also, famously, thought all the miracles in the Bible rubbish.

    “I am a real Christian, that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus, very different from the Platonists, who call me infidel and themselves Christians and preachers of the gospel, while they draw all their characteristic dogmas from what its author never said nor saw. They have compounded from the heathen mysteries a system beyond the comprehension of man, of which the great reformer of the vicious ethics of deism of the Jews, were he to return on earth, would not recognize one feature. “

    Excerpt from another letter to give you a better idea:

    The doctrines of Jesus are simple, and tend all to the happiness of man.

    1. That there is one only God, and he all perfect.
    2. That there is a future state of rewards and punishments.
    3. That to love God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself, is the sum of religion.

    These are the great points on which he endeavored to reform the religion of the Jews. But compare with these the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin.

    1. That there are three Gods.
    2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing.
    3 That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith.
    4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use.
    5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save.

  31. The Lincoln quote appears to be apocryphal and at odds with how he was described by friends (either Deist or Atheist).

  32. Hi Nohm

    The answer you are looking for is clearly no.
    However, what tells me that it is wrong to murder – is my God given conscience. I don’t believe for a second that our conscience developed along with evolution. Knowing that it is wrong to steal, wrong to lie, wrong to murder is how most of us are wired. When you put your faith and trust in God that conscience – because of the Holy Spirit in us – really comes to life.
    That’s what it means to be born again. Right now you are dead to God in a spiritual sense. You keep talking about Allah and Muslims which makes about as much sense to you as christianity. And rightfully so.

    Before I was saved I used to argue much like you guys are doing now.
    What changed is that God called me to himself. Guess how He did that?
    Through my conscience making me very aware that I was a sinner in desperate need of a Savior. That’s the catch – God is going to have to call you to repentance. As Steve has said many times we merely sow the seeds of the Gospel. God’s word has the power to salvation. It’s not me that will convince you with some eloquent argument. It is Jesus that did the saving on the cross in His blood. So we go back to do you listen to your conscience?
    OR do you continue to sear it and trust in self and come what may?

    For me the choice was easy when it came… I hit my knees and begged for forgiveness. That was 5 years ago and I never looked back.

    Most people love their sins too much to come to the light.
    John 3:19 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

    So I ask you Nohm are your sins really worth that much to you that you would not rather confess them to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive you? Today is the day of salvation. We are not promised tomorrow. Praying for you. Our God is a God of miracles and He can take that heart of stone and make it a heart of flesh.
    God Bless.

  33. Dennis proclaims “Ted Bundy claims moral judgments are “value judgments” and when you take God (or any other supreme authority) out of the equation he is correct. As an Atheist you would have no higher authority when it comes to right and wrong judgments then what you decide for yourself.”

    Dennis, I wonder if you’ve read any of my comments. The highest authority is rationality, the rational is that which confirms to reality. My own decision must be rational and conform to existence in order to be moral, they do not become moral simply because I “decide for myself”; the mere conciousness of things does not change reality. Your problem is that you put make believe before reality and automatically assume we do the same thing.

    “You make yourself to be a god.”

    Again ironically it is you who wish to be “supernatural”. You make a false deity of yourself by assuming your beliefs and wishes could somehow create a god; somehow make your particular god more existent in the real world.

  34. Hi Dennis, I’ll have to answer the rest of your comment on Thursday, but I wanted to respond to:

    So I ask you Nohm are your sins really worth that much to you that you would not rather confess them to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to forgive you?

    1. Been there, done that.
    2. What sins?
    3. I’d have to first believe that Jesus was both Lord and Christ, right?
    4. I’d have to first believe that His forgiving me for my “sins” have a larger importance than the forgiveness of the actual people I “sinned” against.
    5. Again: been there, done that. I lost my faith because I started to care whether what I believed was true or not.

    Here’s a quick question, Dennis. What exactly would be your answer if I asked you:

    So I ask you Dennis are your sins really worth that much to you that you would not rather confess them to Allah, who has no partners, and ask Him to forgive you?

  35. See, the problem with anything from Wallbuilders is that they are among the worst at taking unattributed quotes and out-of-context snippets, and declaring that they’ve found the “real truth” of the matter, when they’ve actually made a complete hash out of it. All they build is a “Wall of Lies,” if you want a metaphor there.

    It was started by David Barton as a launching platform for his particular brand of faked research. For instance, in his The Myth of Separation, he says that that only Christians were intended to serve as elected officials, so Jews and other religions shouldn’t even run for public office. He’s given speeches for a number of fascinatingly white supremicist/neo-Nazi groups.

    Basically, I’m saying that Wallbuilders might not be the best source for… well, anything. Perdita already covered the complete misrepresentation of Jefferson’s views, for instance, and the fact that the Lincoln quote seems to be completely made up.

    I think Arlen Specter said it best in 1995:

    Republican Senator Arlen Specter wrote in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy that many of Barton’s arguments “range from the technical to the absurd” and that they “proceed from flawed and highly selective readings of both text and history.” Specter went on to state that Barton’s “pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people.”

  36. Hi Nohm

    The quick answer is that the Muslim faith is work based. I have to still earn my salvation. There is a “chance” that I make it to paradise IF I somehow do enough good deeds to outweigh my bad deeds.

    Also Mohammed died and never rose again.
    Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ backed up his claims by rising again from the dead – defeating death.

    When I repented of my sins – a definite change happened in my life. It’s when you move from the realm of believing something – to knowing something. I know with all my being that I have been changed and that God is real. I can see that there is nothing I did to deserve this, it’s a free gift from God….

  37. Hi Vagon

    Your highest authority is rationality?
    As in whatever makes rational sense is what is right and wrong?
    So if it makes rational sense to murder an unborn child because of financial hardship to the expecting mother, hey, then by all means go ahead and proceed with this murder?

    I mean after all we’re now judging right and wrong from a “rational” perspective correct?
    Am I missing something here?

    The biblical point of view makes much more sense in what I have observed than what others on this blog are claiming.
    Would you say man is inherently good, bad, or neutral?

    In other words is man bent towards sin or towards doing “good” ?
    (Sin = lying, stealing, murder, blasphemy, etc)

  38. Dennis wrote: “Also Mohammed died and never rose again.

    In Islam, Mohammad was a prophet, not a messiah. So that’s like claiming that Moses died and never rose again. Would that mean anything to you?

    Apples and oranges, Dennis.

    Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ backed up his claims by rising again from the dead – defeating death.

    So says an ancient book. Did you know that the Quran states that Mohammad split the moon? Did you know that the X-Men comic book states that Professor X has telepathy?

    You’re commenting on what an ancient holy book told you. Why should I believe your ancient holy book instead of any other ancient holy book?

    When I repented of my sins – a definite change happened in my life.

    Muslims tell me the same thing. Why should I believe you over them?

  39. Dennis, if a different ancient holy book claimed that another man, besides Jesus, rose again from the dead… would you believe it?

    Why, or why not?

  40. In other words is man bent towards sin or towards doing “good” ?
    (Sin = lying, stealing, murder, blasphemy, etc)

    I’ll take this as projection on your part.

  41. Hi Dennis,

    “Your highest authority is rationality?
    As in whatever makes rational sense is what is right and wrong?”

    Yes, what else is there?

    “So if it makes rational sense to murder an unborn child because of financial hardship to the expecting mother, hey, then by all means go ahead and proceed with this murder?”

    I would need you to define what you mean by unborn child before I could properly answer this. That said if you mean you want to force someone to sacrifice an actual life on behalf of a potential life, then that is a horrible thing and grossly immoral.

    “I mean after all we’re now judging right and wrong from a “rational” perspective correct?”

    We might have made errors, but we should be, yes.

    “Am I missing something here?”

    Which part are you confused about?

    “The biblical point of view makes much more sense in what I have observed than what others on this blog are claiming.”

    Something that doesn’t have a foundation can hardly “make sense”.

    “Would you say man is inherently good, bad, or neutral?

    In other words is man bent towards sin or towards doing “good” ?
    (Sin = lying, stealing, murder, blasphemy, etc)”

    Man is born neutral. Did you have a choice in being born? Morality only exists where there is choice, without choice you have simply been forced to perform an action. An action which you have no power over to change is outside the realm of morality. So then to predefine someone as good or bad at birth is to remove choice and if there is no choice there is no morality.

  42. “On what moral grounds can you provide a response to Bundy?”

    None. I couldn’t argue with his point, it is entirely logically consistent. I’m an atheist. I don’t rape because I don’t want to. I do not rape because I’m a “good” person. Good doesn’t exist. A non-rapist is no “better” or “more human” than a rapist. There is no way a human “should” act anymore than there is a way that a dolphin or chimpanzee “should” act.

    If someone wants to rape, they’re free to do so, but since other people do not like rape and do not want to be raped themselves, there will be consequences if caught. Kind of like how a wolf is free to challenge another wolf or pick fights, yet if he may get driven out of the pack or killed by the others for his behavior. The other wolves won’t pretend they are better than the wolf though, unlike humans.

    Would I feel anger if someone raped/murdered a family member? Yeah. But I can admit my disgust over things like rape and murder isn’t any different than my vegan friend’s disgust over cows being killed for food when someone could eat beans or something instead.

    Even my dog, who has no concepts of morals at all, objects to certain actions, like having his favorite toy touched, and feels anger.

    I’m not sure why other atheists have such a hard time being honest about such questions. Maybe because saying “I don’t rape because I have no desire to” doesn’t sound as noble as “I don’t rape because I’m not a sociopath/insane/crazy!” or “I don’t rape because it is wrong!” or “So you’re saying you’d rape if you didn’t believe in god/the bible?!!111” etc.

    I don’t personally like what Ted Bundy did, but I’m no better than he is, and in a way I admire his intellectual honesty. It is a rare thing.

  43. “I’m not sure why other atheists have such a hard time being honest about such questions.”

    It’s a big deal to admit that moral values are ultimately baseless, and most atheists simply arent up to it.

  44. People claiming that the reason they don’t rape or murder is that God gave them a conscience are a joke. What about people like Bundy… who may have had some sort of one at a younger age, but didn’t understand empathy or why people connected. God made him, didn’t give him the same annoying morals that many of you have, and since God is all-knowing and makes men in his image, doesn’t that mean Bundy was here for a reason? Exactly. There are no such thing as sins. There is no right or wrong. It’s all subjective. And the Bible is for slavery, sexism, murder, torture, bashing gays, testing faith through horrible insane torture making A Serbian Film look like Toy Story, and of course incest.

    Every person should have his own code of beliefs, but that’s a rare thing due to people brainwashing their kids with religion at such young ages. Fun fact: both Dahmer and Bundy were very religious growing up. Nothing is moral or immoral unless it can be proven to be a scientific fact, and obviously some things are sick and should not be done… it’s a personal decision. Didn’t God give us Satan to corrupt us and make us give in to awesome depravity? He gave us free will, but knew what we were going to do before he created us. That’s on him. If sin exists, God not only created it, but he continues to encourage it by making us weak while Satan tempts us with his Heaven of hookers, cocaine and a 24-7 free bar and buffet. The only downside is having maggots for skin, but come on… it’s better than being around that arrogant Jesus talking about how he’s the real son of God even though he looks like Bin Laden.

  45. Pingback: Backlinks

  46. Oh well…don’t know if what I posted actually made it or not. Accidentally hit the error key. I am an empath. I am an Athiest. Don’t bother responding. I am never going to check up on this drivel again. But whether you follow the new testaments or the old testament, remember that they were both written to mandate the masses in the same way. They just had to be updated. And thinking of the idea of the King James version of the bible would make me think of a man in power that would take great editing privelages even if weren’t written by totalitarian people or the ones brainwashed by them. It’s nothing more to me than a system of control. Control not being “Don’t rape!”, or “Don’t murder!”, or “Don’t promote slavery!”. And with that, I’ll leave you with this… (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

    As you approach a town to attack it, first offer its people terms for peace. If they accept your terms and open the gates to you, then all the people inside will serve you in forced labor. But if they refuse to make peace and prepare to fight, you must attack the town. When the LORD your God hands it over to you, kill every man in the town. But you may keep for yourselves all the women, children, livestock, and other plunder. You may enjoy the spoils of your enemies that the LORD your God has given you.

  47. hehe…and not the error key…but some key. Either way, I had a large, more indepth submission that randomly dissapeared. G’day.

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