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Atheist Tuesday: The Unbeliever’s Soapbox

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I thought, as a change of pace, that I would let an atheist have a shot. Here, without further ado, is an atheist’s answer for morality without God, by a man whose Web name is Vagon. (I won’t have time to write my own exceptions to this very selfish perspective, but  I do encourage you readers to offer your own.)

So Steve Sanchez has been suggesting that atheists have no grounds by which to judge Ted Bundy’s serial killings as immoral. A commenter under the handle Ryan Shirtz then asserted that atheists cannot logically support morality apart from God and cannot objectively define good and evil. He then said, “Show me any objective proof under a truly atheistic worldview that Ted Bundy’s actions are evil.” Finally another commenter, Dennis, suggested that without God all you are left with are subjective values. [He] later implied that all morality required a higher authority. You can view the chain of thought under Steve’s post here.

Despite several attempts to provide the theists with some objective ways to approach morality, they continued to assert that atheists had none, so I asked Steve if he’d be willing to have me guest post on objective morality without religion and he accepted, providing the post was interesting and provocative enough. I can guarantee neither, but this is that post and it will mean that Steve and his commenters can have no excuse for their continued assertions that atheism has no objective morals.

To have a moral framework considered objective you must begin with foundations that are undeniable by any rational person. Here are three basic premises that are objective and true for every person:

1. Existence
2. Conciousness
3. Identity

It is impossible to reject the statement “something is existing”, because a statement itself presumes existence. In order for anything at all to follow there must be existence. The process of contemplating this existence is consciousness. To be conscious of your own existence, as separate from the existence of others is to have identity. I, as a man, can identify my own existence via consciousness and also the existence of other people and things in reality. It is from this point that morality flows.

Once I realize that I exist I have two options, to continue to live or to cease to exist. If I choose life I have made it clear that I value life and the standard by which to judge the living of this life is morality. That which allows me to flourish and succeed in my life is good and that which impedes or destroys my life is bad. Morality rests on the foundation of existence and my basic choice to continue living.

The only way to judge my life is against reality. The actions which allow me to flourish and succeed are understood and made repeatable by knowledge. Knowledge is only knowledge when it correctly corresponds to reality, if it does not correspond to reality it is irrational. Knowledge of the outcome is what feeds ours actions and our actions are judged as moral only if the aid in the maintenance, excellence and enjoyment of life. The continuation of man’s life is his purpose, a purpose that is only possible if he has the self-esteem to reflect upon himself and consider that he has chosen life and that he should make this life a happy one. Similarly if he is rational he will see that others also have chosen life and measure them by their rationality, their purpose and their sense of self and also value their lives.

Compare this to Christianity:

The foundation of Christianity is the Bible, and in a vicious circle the foundation of the Bible is Christianity. From the start it is a castle built on sand.

Christianity strips man of self-esteem by holding sacrifice as the highest moral action. We have seen that morality flows from the choice of life, by valuing life you seek to act in a way that progresses your life and yet at the outset this religion attempts to strip the worth out of life, the very thing that defines morality.

If you are forced to do something without any other option you cannot be held accountable, there is no moral choice. Consider the Christian default assumption that man is born with “sin”. Morality is the choice of the rational action, the choice that corresponds to creating the best possible situation given the circumstances. When a man wills bad things upon you he is surely evil, but if man has no intent and no will he is amoral. Yet man does not will to be born, this is not a choice. There can be by definition no moral action in being born and yet these mystics would have you judged as evil in the clear absence of morality. The very notion of being born with sin is an affront to morality!

Finally consider what the Christian attempts to replace morality with: the ten commandments. This is perhaps the most ironic of all, that somehow something you are commanded to do can be considered moral. The moral action is the action that is chosen, not the action that has been foist upon you with no alternative. The ten commandments can never be considered moral, because a commandment is not moral by definition.

You exist and you have self worth, founded in axioms which are objective to any man who could be viewing this now. The choice you have made to live has given you the ability to act rationally in the interest of your life. That is true objective morality, not the false contradiction in terms religion tries to lampoon you with.

Steve’s Note: A few atheists commented on his article from their site WeAreSMRT.com (WARNING: Rough language. Remember, they are atheists). Here are some I liked:

*****Comment by Azou » Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:29 am

We have explained our morality to Steve and company hundreds of times. They do what the always do: run away (or, in Steve’s case, stay silent). 

I’m not saying that automatically makes them wrong, as I can see how overwhelming it can be to respond to people dog-piling on your with lengthy responses, but they’ll be back in a few weeks/months ignoring everything you said. Steve did the serial killer article twice nearly within a month, I think.

They’re not interested in discourse: they want to use the discussion as way to segue into their pitch. You can see them quickly try to transition to a gospel message in the Bundy post. They don’t care about reason or logic, and just hope to find someone lacking in both to join the cult. We’re just a “lost cause” they can use as an enemy.

Also, hi Steve! I know you’re reading this, you pitiable coward.

*****Comment by Whateverman » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:25 pm
Interesting Vagon. Regardless of what Steve’s fanclub thinks, I’d take issue with your definition of ‘knowledge’; we can “know” things independent of ther correlation with reality. However, I don’t think this point is something they’ll take isue with. 

Instead, I think they’ll ignore most of what you wrote, and repeat the question.

If I was going to offer critique, I’d suggest spending less time ragging on Christian ‘objective’ morality; it’ll distract them from the points you make in the essay. I myself would also expand (a little) on how valuing things which allow me to live/thrive can conflict with the things valued by others, and how that gets resolved. For the folks who read it, I think this is going to be their biggest objection.

Interesting stuff, I hope it gets posted.

(Image credit: The Electronic Shrug)

42 Comments

  1. See?

    I knew he was reading it :3

  2. I’m pretty sure that the comments by Azou and Whateverman were based on an earlier version that Vagon wrote.

    Vagon, is that correct?

  3. For the record, that “atheism sign” (i.e., “The belief that there was nothing…”) is nowhere close to what I believe.

    It’s not even in the same ballpark.

    The belief that there was nothing (wrong) and nothing happened (wrong) to nothing (wrong) and then nothing magically (wrong) exploded (wrong) for no reason (wrong), creating everything (wrong) and then a bunch of everything (wrong) magically (wrong) rearranged itself (wrong) for no reason (wrong) what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into (wrong) dinosaurs (wrong).

    Makes perfect sense (wrong).

  4. I’m not an atheist but the idea that without God there is no morality is simply a lie.

    Utilitarianism, Natural Law Theory, Deontology just require reason. There is no mention of God.

    Let’s take Utilitarianism for an example. Utilitarianism proposes the principle that the best guide to morality is the greatest good for the greatest number. That would easily allow any atheist to condemn the actions of people like Ted Bundy [he harms people by killing them].

    Now notice in the guiding principle of Utilitarianism there was no mention of God. Therefore any atheist could use utilitarianism. Whether they would or not is another matter.

    Since I’ve proven that atheists can have morality without a concept of God how about a retraction and apology Steve? That is if you’re concerned at all with the truth.

  5. Steve you wrote “(WARNING: Rough language. Remember, they are atheists). ” About the site WEARESMRT. You then posted a quote by Whateverman. But WEM is a Deist NOT an atheist. Time for another apology Steve. As Nohm’s pointed out that includes your little ridicule of atheism as well. That’s zero for three Steve. Would you like to try for zero for four?

  6. Actually, those comments are from the link Vagon gave me.

    Hi Steve. I’m not arguing where you got the comments; I’m just stating that I *think* those comments might have been based on an earlier version of his essay.

    I acknowledge that I might be wrong.

  7. Ah I love that dishonest Atheism sign, I believe we have the always honest Dale Jackson to thank for that one.

    Another shining example of Christianity.

  8. Of course when you point out their wonderful honesty the most common response will be ‘It’s a joke, I can say anything I like when it’s a joke!’ or if you are Ray Comfort ‘Why is lying bad!’ or his new line ‘I don’t believe the same thing you do so I can say anything I want about you’.

  9. I should clarify Dale claimed to make a video featuring that graphic, it’s possible he made the video using someone else’s work.

  10. Nohm, actually they the original comments and my article wasn’t changed.
    I stand by my article, I think if only one person has an undefined issue with the definition of “knowledge” then its a good indication that the moral framework is a success.

    If anybody is concerned about knowledge in particular or anything else, feel free to ask. In particular I’d like to know from theists out there that previously criticised atheists for having no objective morals.

  11. I will gives kudos to Steve for posting this and giving us a bit of equal time.

  12. It appears that I was wrong about the timing of the comments that Steve posted; I apologize for the confusion.

    Steve, I was also looking forward to some Christian responses to what Vagon wrote. What’s your quick opinion, besides viewing it as “selfish”?

  13. “Christianity strips man of self-esteem by holding sacrifice as the highest moral action”

    Vagon this is evidence that you never really have read or studied the Bible.

    The highest moral action described in the Bible is

    1. Love God with all your heart , soul and mind

    2. Love your neighbor as yourself

    2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

    Lets now talk about sacrifice Vargon, I will assume that you have a wife, or even a child , would you not protect them if it would even cost you your life? Maybe you would stand there basking in your self esteam instead, but I would put myself in the line of fire to protect my wife.

  14. “Let’s take Utilitarianism for an example. Utilitarianism proposes the principle that the best guide to morality is the greatest good for the greatest number. That would easily allow any atheist to condemn the actions of people like Ted Bundy [he harms people by killing them].”

    The fallicy of this postion is simple, what is your standard to measure good against? what if someone else had another idea?

    Pol Pot the famous atheist leader of the Khmer Rouge justifying the murder of 20% of the Cambodian population said this

    “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss”

    But for them this is for the GREATER COMMON GOOD is it not?

    You offered only an opinion, Pol Pot (and the rest of socialpathic communist dictators) offered theirs, now I would say they are more intellectually honest then you are , why you ask? Because in their world view since God doesnt exsist they have no guilt for their mass murders , for they have convinced themselves they will not have to answer for their crimes and they are actually consistant with their belief system.

  15. The fallacy of this position is simple, what is your standard to measure good against?

    We define good. You, me, Steve, Garrett, and everybody else in the world, decides.

    What if someone else had another idea?

    Isn’t this in fact what we see? Laws and governances would be soooo much easier if we could all be in agreement as to what is good. Some of the biggies we agree on, but that isn’t always the case – slavery for example. Even when we agree on the biggies, like ‘don’t kill another person’, when it comes down to particulars there are a lot of differences (positions on death penalty, wars). And we debate, protest and write to get our points across and possibly change the ideas of others. Some force what they consider ‘good’ onto others.

    Pol Pot the famous atheist leader of the Khmer Rouge justifying the murder of 20% of the Cambodian population said this “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss” But for them this is for the GREATER COMMON GOOD is it not?

    And how did that work out for him? Seems that it was for the short-term and not terribly good for him, the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia or the Cambodians.

    You offered only an opinion… now I would say they are more intellectually honest then you are…

    And you have offered your opinion – that there is a God to make sense of everything. I can’t find the belief in a literal Bible and young Earth to be intellectually honest, since it takes too much ignoring of our shared reality and too much shoddy interpretation of what the Bible says – especially what the Old Testament says. I can’t find the belief in miracles or the supernatural to be intellectually honest because that involves wishful thinking and ignorance of how our minds and our world work.

  16. Ryan wrote “The fallicy of this postion is simple, what is your standard to measure good against? what if someone else had another idea?”

    Answer: Actually the idea of good is that which benefits the majority. If someone else had another idea they would have to prrove that their idea whould benefit even more people. So your objection is wrong.

    Ryan continues “Pol Pot the famous atheist leader of the Khmer Rouge justifying the murder of 20% of the Cambodian population said this

    “To keep you is no benefit, to destroy you is no loss”

    But for them this is for the GREATER COMMON GOOD is it not?”

    Answer: You are in fact correct. This is the weakness of Utilitarianism is that it offers no protection for minorities. Quite right. But then all I had to show was that there existed a system of ethics which did not make use of divine command. I have done so. Therefore Steve is wrong.

    And by the way I am NOT a Utilitarian. I merely offered that as an example. Ethically I am a Rossian Deontologist.

    Rossian Deontologists hold that certain duties are objectively true [they are not dependent on our opinion since they can be shown through reason] and that they must be held tentatively [i.e. they are held as true until shown otherwise].
    What are these duties?
    They are:

    A duty of fidelity [to keep one’s promises and not engage in deceit].

    A duty of reparation [a duty to make up for harms already done]

    A duty of gratitude

    A duty of non-injury [a duty not to harm others psychologically or physically and to prevent harm where we can].

    A duty of beneficience [a duty to do good where we can].

    A duty of self improvement

    A duty of justice [a duty that requires that one act in such a way that one distributes benefits and burdens fairly].

    and finally

    A duty of respect for freedom [a duty that as far as possible we should avoid coercion of others and, insofar as we are able, provide conditions of empowerment especially to those who radically lack them].

    Now when we need to choose between two moral actions we simply add up where the majority of our duties lay and bingo.

    Now you can see why I chose to give Utilitarianism as my example instead of Rossian Deontology. 🙂

    Now you may ask isn’t divine command easier to use? Not really no. I’ll show why in the next post.

  17. @ Ryan

    As I’ve shown through Rossian Deontology one need not use any idea of God to have a viable ethical system. Now let’s look at Divine Command and it’s problem shall we?

    Let me ask you a question Ryan.

    Are certain actions wrong because God says so or does God condemn certain actions because they are wrong.

    If actions are only wrong when God says they are then until He makes such a decision the action isn’t wrong. Indeed if this view is correct then God could declare that murder is good and therefore people should all go out and kill each other [shades of Pol Pot :-)]. If this view is correct then morality is arbitrary.

    But perhaps you’ll reply that God condemns certain actions because those actions are wrong. But if this view is correct then right and wrong exist independently of God. Therefore all anyone needs is reason to be able to find right and wrong.

    So to sum up either morality is arbitrary and entirely dependent on the whim of God OR right and wrong exists independently of God and we can find these through reason.

    Your choice Ryan.

  18. Ryan:

    So, you take the “Pol Pot was an atheist, and therefore all atheists are evil” line? OK, so, two questions:

    1. Hitler was a Catholic. He had a special relationship with the Pope. Most Nazi’s were Catholic or Lutheran, and that logo on their uniforms? “Gott mit uns”? Translates to “God is with us.” Doesn’t that therefore prove that all Christians are homicidal, mass-murdering bigots? It’s the same logic, after all.

    2. Are you saying that the only thing that prevents you from starting a program of genocide against your neighbors is the fact that God tells you not to? Really? You don’t rape, kill, steal and curse because of the Bible? Nothing else prevents that?

    The term for that is “sociopath” – you just happen to be a sociopath who’s kept in check (for the moment). Perhaps you need to get some help for that.

  19. @Ryan
    John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

    I think that’s one of the sacrifice Vagon was talking about… the sacrifice of Jesus, of God in HUMAN form, the sacrifice of a MAN.

    So yes, I have to agree, Christianity strips MAN of self-esteem by holding sacrifice as the highest moral action!

  20. “Vagon this is evidence that you never really have read or studied the Bible.”

    Steve was right to tell me to include provocative sentences. Instead of challenging the actual moral framework you claimed did not exist, you the audience prefer to single in on the provocation.

    “The highest moral action described in the Bible is

    1. Love God with all your heart , soul and mind

    2. Love your neighbor as yourself

    2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.”

    I could not have proved my point better and I’ll take that as observable proof I have studied the bible with more clarity than yourself, not that seems like too much of a feat. You glorify self-sacrifice, promote that the self is evil. You put yourself behind something for which you have no evidence and then you claim this to be objective. It would be funny if it was not so sad. If you truly believe you are fallen and cannot be sure that your own existence has intrinsic worth then you are very far from objective.

    “Lets now talk about sacrifice Vargon, I will assume that you have a wife, or even a child , would you not protect them if it would even cost you your life? Maybe you would stand there basking in your self esteam instead, but I would put myself in the line of fire to protect my wife.”

    This is a common error in thinking and shows that you haven’t really understood what you are trying to debate. Sacrifice is by definition only sacrifice when something of greater value is given preference over something of lesser value.

    So to answer your bizarre and unlikely hypothetical, I would sacrifice my life for that of my family when I was confident the end result would be greater in value.

    Now you stated you would jump into the line of fire sacrificing your life as you have stated. You haven’t thought again:
    -You have ignored your wife’s wants would she not want you to live?
    -You have ignored that the gunman probably has enough bullets to kill you and your family.
    -You haven’t thought to stop the gunman and save everyone else other than your family, your “Neighbours”.

    I could go on with any number of other errors. You’re thinking is riddled with them, that’s what happens when your premises are so muddled.

    By the way Hugo nailed it, ditch your oddball hypotheticals and focus on reality. The sacrifice you currently uphold is wasting a 1/7 of your only life at church, or worse, encouraging other people to do the same.

  21. So to sum up either morality is arbitrary and entirely dependent on the whim of God OR right and wrong exists independently of God and we can find these through reason.

    Loved the post, Christopher. Good stuff

  22. In a nutshell, the atheist has a morality: his own. Whatever he thinks is right for him and society, then that’s his morality. Should he violate that morality, there is forgiveness: his own; he only has to forgive himself…or not. It doesn’t matter, really.

    Ted Bundy’s morality was right for him. Mao’s morality was right for him. A “Good Person” atheist has a morality that is right for him.

    Subjective morality is always right for those who practice it.

    An objective morality, from one’s maker, his Creator, offers a morality that is beyond human selfishness; it does not change like shifting shadows. That is why God’s morality is indeed written in stone.

    Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions, dear atheists.

    But the unchanging Moral Law of God’s standards will condemn you on the day you die.

    Unless, of course, you repent and put your trust in Jesus, the One who fulfilled God’s Law and is the “human” standard of God’s perfect morality.

  23. The problem with your objective morality is that it really isn’t objective. It’s your opinion that this morality is from your Creator, from your God. There is no evidence that this is so. Even if you could make a case that it had to come outside of us, that it had to come from ‘a god’, you still would have to show that it was from ‘your God’.

    And it is further your interpretation, your opinion, as to what that morality is and how it’s defined. Do I need to enter all the examples from the Old Testament that most Christians say are no longer valid while at the same time saying nothing’s changed?

    If we look at history, we find that morality does in fact change like shifting shadows. Even something like ‘do not kill’ has been changed from ‘do not kill another member of the in-group’ to ‘also do not kill members of out-groups.’

  24. @ Steve
    You wrote “In a nutshell, the atheist has a morality: his own. Whatever he thinks is right for him and society, then that’s his morality. Should he violate that morality, there is forgiveness: his own; he only has to forgive himself…or not. It doesn’t matter, really.”

    Now that’s a lie and you know it Steve. I’ve just shown that ethical systems can be objective and based upon reason. No one has to base their ethics upon a relativist basis unless they choose to do so.

    That being so to assert otherwise is a lie. You asserted otherwise therefore you are lying. QED.

    Steve further wrote “An objective morality, from one’s maker, his Creator, offers a morality that is beyond human selfishness; it does not change like shifting shadows. That is why God’s morality is indeed written in stone.”

    As I’ve already shown divine command is NOT a source of objective morality. It is a source of arbitrary morality. Read my post dated March 24, 2011 at 7:57 am . I covered all this.

    Steve further wrote “Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions, dear atheists.”

    How many times do I have to tell you Steve? WEM and I are NOT atheists.

    Steve further asserted “But the unchanging Moral Law of God’s standards will condemn you on the day you die.”

    The unchanging moral law of God? I assume you mean the God of the bible right? Would this be the same law of God that condemned murder and then says “Go into the cities of the plain and leave alive NOTHING that breathes, neither man nor woman nor child. It also goes on further to state in Psalms “blessed is he who snatches the babe from it’s mother’s arms and dashes it’s head upon the stones.”

    That sounds like it’s changing based upon circumstances to me. Which would make it relativism. Guess you’re wrong Steve. Now do you have the courage to admit it?

  25. Quite simply Morality doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it’s how we interact with other people.

    “An objective morality, from one’s maker, his Creator, offers a morality that is beyond human selfishness; it does not change like shifting shadows. That is why God’s morality is indeed written in stone.”

    Really Steve, I dare you answer these simple yes/no questions.

    Is it wrong to run a pregnant woman through with a sword?

    Is it wrong to sell children as chattel?

    It is wrong to sell your daughter to please another man (refundable if she fails)?

    Is it wrong to punish a child for the sins of their father?

    Is it wrong to eat shellfish?

    Your unchanging, set in stone morality should be able to answer these very simple questions.

  26. I haven’t been posting as much as I used to, due to the fact that I’ve been having these kinds of conversation with my more conservative christian co-workers, which spans the topic of morality. The argument that they put forth is that anyone that doesn’t except the existence of a deity is in no position to declare anything right or wrong because the human standards of right and wrong or morality vary. I argued that the concept of right and wrong is determined by human beings but more importantly what the society has decided upon by consensus (and in some cases force).
    This relates to Steve’s post in a way, that we ourselves determine our morality. I would elaborate more Steve, as children we don’t have a pre-programmed set of morals we have to be taught by a variety of sources in order to learn what is right and wrong by the standards of the society you live in. Your kids don’t know the stories in the Bible automatically, hence why you have to teach them those, just like a Muslim child has to be taught the Quaran in order to be a muslim. We make decisions about what is right and wrong based on our influences, if everyone in a society agrees on something then it tends to become what is right and what is wrong, but no society is completely closed and neither is it always in agreement, hence why we have numerous societies, some which are far different from others. We do have some similarities with one another in that morality is usually conducive to our survival as a species, but it can be as fluid as fashion trends.
    I asked my co-worker then, since he believed in absolute morality, whether or slavery is right or wrong. His response was ‘I don’t know’ so in the absence of an absolute authority on the subject, we has lowly human beings have to come up with our own ideas on how to treat the subject. In the beginning slavery was okay for us, but over time enough people began to empathize with slaves, heard stories from freed slaves about apalling conditions, and rose to power and ended up abolishing the practice, labeling it as wicked, immoral, and a terrible thing to do. What was once perfectly acceptable in society has now become reprehensible to us. The same can be said with homosexuality, give it a few generations Steve, people will either accept it or not care about it, and those that oppose it will fall further into the minority.

  27. Another quick one for you Steve, according to your set in stone, unchanging morality…

    How old should a girl be before I kill her family & tribe, shave her head, let her mourn for a month, then take her as my wife?

    • To BathTub and all other non-Christians: It is absolutely ridiculous to think that God has to keep the Ten Commandments. I’ll tell you why on your day, Tuesday. But I guarantee you will not like, in fact, you’ll hate the reason why he doesn’t have to.

      That’s why this blog is here though, to educate! 🙂

  28. Morality derived from God would still be his subjective morality, so I fail to see how that is any better than picking another authority figure.

  29. Come on Steve, trivially easy questions for someone with an unchanging, set in stone morality right?

  30. We’ll probably think it’s just a silly copout to maintain cognitive dissonance.

    Oh, so much hate! Well, not really. Kinda sad, to be honest.

  31. @ Steve

    You wrote “It is absolutely ridiculous to think that God has to keep the Ten Commandments. ”

    So you’re asserting that God is a hypocrite? Now Jesus condemned hypocrisy. It seems that if Jesus is God and God condemns hypocrisy then God condemn’s Himself.

    Are you really sure you want to go this way Steve? Wouldn’t it be easier to admit that you lied?

  32. @ Steve

    To assert that God can propose morality that He doesn’t have to accept is to say that morality from God is NOT absolute. Absolute morality is morality which applies in all times and places to everyone – that would include God.

    What you are proposing is relative, arbitrary morality. Morality which your God conceives of on a whim and then enforces whenever He wishes.

    But previously you had asserted that Christian morality was absolute.

    I think you owe all your readers an apology for misleading them Steve. Of course if you’re not interested in the truth and honesty don’t worry about it.

  33. Ah so straight for the relative morality, well done Steve.

    You should still have no problem answering my questions, thought right Steve? I mean they were pretty basic.

  34. Steve you’ve completely ignored the post as well as Chris’ post that outlines a separate and distinct objective moral framework. Instead of saying why you think they’re subjective you wave your hand and say “They are subjective” and expect that to hold weight.

    You say that “whatever he thinks is right” forms the basis of morality, yet that’s clearly incorrect, its the logically deduced conclusions from a legitimate foundation. These don’t change like your God’s (and subsequently multiple followers) views.

    You miss the point that both Ted Bundy and Mao initiated force, which is clearly a violation of objective morality. Something that cannot be said for the violence in the Moses myth you avoid thinking critically about.

    And why does it matter? Well like I said I suppose to someone whose mystical believes strip him of self-esteem it wouldn’t matter. For me, an objective moralist, the very definition of value stems from what I produce. I value life, I have chosen life. To taint my self through immoral action is to go against everything that I live for. But I guess you missed that.

  35. Just a point – you should never use the “eating shellfish” argument. The rest are valid points, but the kosher dietary laws have been canned (so to speak).

    Leviticus 11, where they list the clean and unclean food, begins “Tell the Israelites” – not “tell the people.” (This one’s always seemed like picking nits to me, but the Israelites are His chosen people – not that it’s done them much good over the centuries…)

    But that brings us to Matthew 15:11, where Jesus came out with the proposition that “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

    Add to that Acts 10:9-22, which includes the line “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This has traditionally meant that saying “grace” makes food automatically kosher (rather than raising the question of whether God might have made them pure in the first place, because that would invalidate part of Leviticus, which might call the rest of it into question).

    And then we have Romans 14:14, which says:

    “I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.”

    However, your average fundie doesn’t like to bring this one up, because, just earlier in this thread, Steve was speaking out against situational ethics (in this case, subjective/objective morality) as if it were a bad thing…

  36. Steve, you say “Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions, dear atheists.”

    They do ask questions, but aren’t getting answers. At least other than “you know the answer, you ignore it.” That’s why I evangelize only when evangelized first.

  37. Ok I’ll drop the shellfish one.

    But I particularly like the age of the girl one.

    It’s fun to see Steve run away.

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