January 16, 2013

"I'm an atheist... Eric is in the ground, rotting."

"I know it sounds horrible to say that, but that is where he is. How is that a better place?"
"I was searching frantically for anything that would help me get through this... But everything I found had to do with God: putting your faith in God, believing that God had some sort of plan. I found nothing to help me."
Nothing to help me

256 comments:

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ndspinelli said...

I'll go w/ Carnifex in the Hawk thread over this joyless person. Being joyless is almost a universal trait of atheists. They are glass half empty people.

Carnifex, you continue to be in my prayers.

Lucien said...

Nothing, or nothingness, is what there is to provide comfort for this woman. Her husband lived his life, had a wonderful marriage, and suffered fatal injuries doing what he loved (apparently). His death, given the burns, likely released him from severe pain, plus the prospect of more of it.

Matt said...

Atheists have as much faith in the non-existence of God as theists have in his existence. He has found nothing to help him because he has placed his faith in nothingness.

(For the record, I am agnostic.)

Matt said...

Sorry, make that "she", "her" and "hers".

Tim said...

She wants to embrace her pain as a badge of honor.

At least she has integrity that way.

traditionalguy said...

Death is a powerful enemy of everyone, atheists and believers alike.

Faith in Jesus's promises is a possible answer and comforts some. But the bitter war against Death goes on. And no one has cured Death yet, except for that Jewish Messiah's promises that he has done it for us and awaits our joining Him soon. (See, Nicene Creed.)

Mitchell the Bat said...

The beautiful thing about being agnostic is you can believe in God and still believe there's no afterlife.

The Farmer said...

In all fairness, if he was an atheist too, he's in a much worse place.

Alex said...

funny how tradguy slings Jesus and not Vishnu.

Jim S. said...

It was certainly disrespectful of the priest to continue praying over him after he had been asked to stop. I have two contentions with her however: first, when she was told "He's going to a better place" before he died or "He's in a better place" after he died, she said "When he was in the hospital and they said that, he was lying in a bed with tubes coming out with 50 percent burns and no face," Fiore says. "Is that a better place?" And afterwards, "Eric is in the ground, rotting. I know it sounds horrible to say that, but that is where he is. How is that a better place?"

Obviously the people who said he was going to or he's in a better place were not referring to his hospital bed or his grave, so her response is disingenuous.

Second, her daughter said "As an ecologist and as a scientist, we believe that when you die, your energy becomes part of a system again." This is a complete non sequitur. Plenty of scientists believe in an afterlife beyond the physical energy of one's body. The whole "I'm an atheist because I'm a scientist" is an old canard that doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

Michael K said...

That woman has some real problems. She needs to get on with her life. I know that sounds cold but her fixation has blighted her life. Atheists like her are obsessed with God.

I had a patient once who was in ICU and the local priest was asked to see him by his wife. The patient told the priest, "Father, I think I'm going to make it, so no thanks." The priest went away and the guy lapsed into a coma a few days later. The wife asked the priest to come back and he declined. The guy had made his decision. She was furious.

I once had another patient who was a chiropractor and very anti-MD. He refused surgery for his perforated colon. After he lapsed into a coma the intern wanted me to operate on him under the theory that, if he knew how much trouble he was in, he would consent.

Same decision. I declined to operate on him.

People have the right to make decisions but they have to love with them after, or die.

Obamacare is coming at it from the other direction. You will have to justify your right to live. Euthanasia, here we come !

mccullough said...

These two women in the story keep clinging to death. They keep searching for meaning but refuse religion. What's the point? Quit thinking about it.

Balfegor said...

What they need is a dose of good old Confucianism. Death and grief and feelings of loss are natural. One can get over the loss of a loved one while still believing that the loss is true, final, permanent, and irrevocable, and that no happy reunion awaits us in the distant future or in any other world. Confucianism offers those of us who are atheist a set ritual form, almost completely emptied of theological content, for the expression of our grief, but sets appropriate limits so that grief does not consume our whole lives.

jr565 said...

There is nothing to help you atheist. You'll die alone and then decompose in dirt. And don't appeal to the unfairness of it all. There is no unfairness.. Tha would require a just universe, and you don't believe in that.
It's pretty bleak, but that is your universal viewpoint, so own up to it. Existentialism is bleak and empty.

Balfegor said...

There is nothing to help you atheist. You'll die alone and then decompose in dirt.

Ah, but that body won't be me. I will have ceased to exist --

This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die,
And specious stuff that says
No rational being
Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing
That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,
No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,
Nothing to love or link with,
The anaesthetic from which none come round
.

Larry J said...

Mitchell the Bat said...
The beautiful thing about being agnostic is you can believe in God and still believe there's no afterlife.


Or, as in my case, admit that you simply don't know if there's a God, such a thing as a soul or afterlife. The key aspect to agnosticism, at least for me, it the admission that I simply don't know one way or the other. I respect the religious views of others even if I don't share them. I don't try to force my doubt on others and prefer they don't try to shove their certainty (one way or the other) on me.

Aridog said...

She wants to embrace her pain as a badge of honor.

No, what this shit-head is making this is all about her. It is not about her...Eric is the one who is dead. He ain';t here to speak is he? Does this asshole think someone owes her anything? She hasn't the decency to allow others to grieve in their own way, its hers or the highway.

You want to see/read a decent and loving testimonial to a departed loved one...read Carniflex's on this blog. No where does he make it about him instead of his dad.

I have empathy and remorse for Carniflex's loss. His rendition moves me.

I feel nothing for this ignorant narcissist Fiore wench. Lie in a trench with a dead man you knew well, who died beside you, you hag and then tell me about your pissy little issues with Sky Pilots.

Bryan C said...

"That wasn't a surprise, since Via Christi is a Catholic hospital. But even after Fiore announced that Eric would not want anyone praying for him, a priest hovered and prayed, day after day. Finally, she kicked the priest out."

When someone of a different religion sincerely expresses their sympathy, it's polite to accept their gift in the spirit with which it is offered. Even us backward godbotherers usually manage this much.

Yes, we all do things in times of grief that we later regret. She seems rather proud of this, though. Why, I don't understand.

Balfegor said...

Thou art more than the Gods who number the days of our temporal breath;
Let these give labour and slumber; but thou, Proserpina, death.
Therefore now at thy feet I abide for a season in silence. I know
I shall die as my fathers died, and sleep as they sleep; even so.
For the glass of the years is brittle wherein we gaze for a span;
A little soul for a little bears up this corpse which is man.
So long I endure, no longer; and laugh not again, neither weep.
For there is no God found stronger than death; and death is a sleep
.

Balfegor said...

Re: Bryan:

Yes, we all do things in times of grief that we later regret. She seems rather proud of this, though. Why, I don't understand.

She probably found it offensive, much in the way that Jews, for example, find it offensive when Mormons go baptising dead Jews into the Mormon faith (or whatever it was they were doing with Holocaust victims)

Alex said...

Aridog has rage issues.

Smilin' Jack said...

At least if us atheists are right we don't go to hell.

You agnostics, on the other hand...

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelation 3

Quayle said...

Note that even in her anger towards God and her rejection of God, she acknowledges God.

Her sense that this is unfair and unjust can only exists against the opposite pole that fair and just exist. And her anger directed as a person can only arise from the sense that that person had the power to prevent the pain.

If there is no higher judge that will make it all right, there can be no wrong of which to complain.

Doesn't she see this?

And I am perfectly fine that she is mad at God and I'm quite certain God is perfectly fine with her being mad also.

For a very excellent treatment of this topic (from a Mormon perspective), I highly recommend "The God Who Weeps" (which you should purchase through the Althouse Amazon portal above.)

Henry said...
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Henry said...

I would recommend that Fiore read Beowulf. There is a great non-Christian literature of tragedy and grief. It speaks to a way of living -- and the importance of living -- in the face of an inevitable future.

edutcher said...

At the risk of sounding insensitive, I have to wonder how many times this woman used the "you're just rotting in the ground" line to make herself sound superior to those who believe in a better place.

Bryan C said...

That wasn't a surprise, since Via Christi is a Catholic hospital. But even after Fiore announced that Eric would not want anyone praying for him, a priest hovered and prayed, day after day. Finally, she kicked the priest out.

When someone of a different religion sincerely expresses their sympathy, it's polite to accept their gift in the spirit with which it is offered. Even us backward godbotherers usually manage this much.


You'd have to go back 50 years to find people showing that kind of respect. Once the Lefties declared war on everything in the late 60s, that all went by the boards.

Chip Ahoy said...

That's the thing about salvation, when you reject it then there's nothing. That's the choice she made when she was big and strong and knew all there is to know dazzled by science and with no need at all for salvation, so suck on it. Why am I even reading this? Why is she even talking about it? Oh, that's right, to tell us how annoyed she is by people she left behind back there still stuck on faith saying insipid faithful things unhelpful to deep thoughtful realistic people such as herself.

Wow. Somebody she loved died. What a horribly unique experience. If only I had a way to relate to such a strange thing. Very well then, Missy, I'll stfu.

I'm very good at this sort of thing. Here's how to express empathy to someone that's faithless. A wordless sympathy card.

Yours can be a simple thing. Just grab scratch items with color, shine, texture, whatever, cut out shapes, arrange, and glue them on a page and mail it. That's all. They will write on it (metaphorically) whatever message they wish.

Mine would be more explicit, a pop-up multiple page card. In this case, the first page would be an airplane flies across the sky and crashes directly into the ground. The second page is a burned guy in a hospital. The third page is a sad girl just standing there by a grave. And that would show her that people totally understand the whole situation. No wait wait wait make the first page a boy and girl just standing there holding hands, so four pages not three. I guarantee that would be the BEST personalized wordless sympathy card possible.

Robert Cook said...

"There is nothing to help you atheist. You'll die alone and then decompose in dirt."

Atheist or believer, this is the fate that awaits us all.

"And don't appeal to the unfairness of it all. There is no unfairness."

That we all will die is certainly not unfair. It is simply the fact of life. There are deaths that are unfair, but death as the final fate for all of us simply...inevitable.

"Existentialism is bleak and empty."

From your perspective, perhaps, but not objectively so. It is simply the recognition that our lives in the physical plane are all that we can or will know. Facing this knowledge, we have the opportunity--though few of us will avail ourselves of it--to live our lives as we wish, overcoming our fears and trying to achieve or obtain that which we want in this life while we have the brief opportunity to do so, rather than merely enduring this life in hope and wait for a better life after this one.

mccullough said...
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n.n said...

As an atheist she should not be seeking meaning in life. She should understand that humans, like animals, like rocks, are merely a collection of objects which remain coherent for a time and then are "heard" no more.

Incidentally, it is this peculiar perception of reality, which enables the rationalization of what people condemn the most, if only selectively.

That's it. That's everything.

Unless she acknowledges that there is an indeterminate underlying order to our universe, life, etc.; that this order may or may not be established by God; that whatever its source, it is the cause of people, animals, rocks, and meaning; she is unlikely to reconcile her loss, is more likely to commit punitive damage to others, or simply to withdraw from social interaction.

The only viable agnostic position would be to accept the meaning and significance of life as axiomatic. This is the only position which can reconcile a tolerance of theism and atheism.

JPS said...

The Farmer, 1:23:

"In all fairness, if he was an atheist too, he's in a much worse place."

Maybe I'm being dense by asking, but I think you're saying if he was an atheist he's in hell now. If not, please disregard.

But - no disrespect to anyone's religion - I've never understood this idea, that an atheist who (suppose for the sake of argument) leads a life of good deeds is going to hell just for being an atheist.

For me, it requires a God so vindictive, spiteful and insecure as to say, at the moment of Judgment, "Well, you mostly got it right, during your trivially insignificant span on earth, but you didn't believe in Me, so - eternal torment for you!" Ditto for the argument that any nonbeliever in the correct religion goes to hell. That's not the God I believe in.

Some Christians I know square this circle by arguing that at the moment of death, all is revealed to the righteous atheist, who then embraces God and Christ and is saved. Not sure I buy it, but I appreciate the thought.

Seeing Red said...

Geez, why bury him, why not cremate him?

Revenant said...

Yeah, there isn't much out there to reassure atheists when it comes to death -- or anything else, actually.

This is why I have to smile when I hear a religious person describe atheism as some sort of cop-out -- like we get to live life without consequences and they don't. It used to make me angry, but I eventually came to see the humor in it.

Revenant said...

Atheists have as much faith in the non-existence of God as theists have in his existence.

Atheists believe in the non-existence of 1 more god than Christians do. :)

After all, I've never met a Christian who believes in Zeus.

Henry said...
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Henry said...

Then there's this take, by the great Frank Turner:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y4f62-TLIM

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aridog said...

Alex said...

Aridog has rage issues.

No doubt. But I earned them. How am I supposed to respect this idiot ragging on after 12 years? How did it become a news item? Oh, surprise, surprise...Mizz Fiore is writing a book!

I'd say her rant about allegedly telling "Eric", on his death bed, that they don't have to pretend they're not atheists anymore is more indicative of "rage" than anything I've said.

In other words, phony before, phony now. But be sure to buy her book on how to grieve like an atheist. It's different you know.

Revenant said...

There is nothing to help you atheist. You'll die alone and then decompose in dirt. And don't appeal to the unfairness of it all

I've never heard an atheist complain that it is unfair that people die. I know people who have become atheists because they thought no loving God would have let somebody die, but of course that's not the same thing.

ricpic said...

Just a guess on my part but I assume most atheists are not up in arms about the fact that, as they see it, there is nothing after death. They wouldn't be atheists in the first place if the need for an afterlife was preeminent in their makeup. Just so I'm not misunderstood I'm not saying that religion exists solely to provide the comfort of an afterlife. But addressing the fear of oblivion is a significant part of religion's appeal.

Revenant said...

How am I supposed to respect this idiot ragging on after 12 years?

Imagine that, a woman who still misses her dead husband after 12 years.

Crazy bitch.

Matt said...

I'm not understanding why some here are piling on this woman. She is dealing with grief and she doesn't believe in god or religion or an afterlife so it makes it harder for her. Are you all suggesting that she should embrace religion? Are some of you saying that maybe you are better than her because you believe and she doesn’t?

If someone is an atheist there is no way to force someone to believe in an afterlife. But the whole point of this radio piece is that there are atheists who are trying to deal with grief in a world in which grief is almost solely dealt with from a religious angle. That can be tough for some because - again - they cannot force themselves to believe in something they don't think exists. So they are alone. But that does not make the person a 'bitter hag' or whatever names you throw out there. The fact is no matter what one believes or does not believe all people deal with grief in their own way. Death of a loved one is not easy no matter what the circumstances or belief system one has.

A little sympathy, people. Yeah, you too Aridog you're a bit off on this one.

Freeman Hunt said...

The most common atheistic sympathy expression on Facebook:

"Thinking of you."

Even when it was directed at me, I couldn't help but "heh."

Edward Reiss said...

JPS,

'But - no disrespect to anyone's religion - I've never understood this idea, that an atheist who (suppose for the sake of argument) leads a life of good deeds is going to hell just for being an atheist."

No one leads a good life--that is why we need a savior. If we are saved by our good deeds, we make God a debtor--he owes us something for our good deeds. The root of all sin and evil is unbelief--it is the original sin.

The point of Christianity by grace grants us salvation by and through his Son Jesus Christ. It is by grace, not our merit, that we get into heaven.

Aridog said...

Matt said ...

She is dealing with grief and she doesn't believe in god or religion or an afterlife so it makes it harder for her ...

...after 12 years elapse since Eric died? Really?

I'd say she's preening. And bitching about what SHE lost, not Eric...who merely died. Sorry, I find that bass awkwards.

Yes, I am a certifiable prick.

Crunchy Frog said...

That wasn't a surprise, since Via Christi is a Catholic hospital. But even after Fiore announced that Eric would not want anyone praying for him, a priest hovered and prayed, day after day. Finally, she kicked the priest out.

Whether Eric wanted prayer or not is irrelevant. The priest prays that his heart and mind are opened to Jesus - that the spark of recognition and acceptance penetrates through his pain, suffering, and unbelief - so that when he dies he can enjoy eternal life with God in Heaven.

How many atheists, if they saw their loved ones hooked on some debilitating drug, would try and get them help even against their wishes?

"Oh, my son wants to throw away his life on meth, but it would be disrespectful of me to do anything about it. Oh well."

mccullough said...

Matt,

There are two women in this story. The first one's husband died over 12 years ago. The second one's son died over 8 years ago.

That's a long time for each of them to keep chewing this over, believer or not.

If they would give up searching for the religion substitute and quit trying to find meaning in life, they would have moved on awhile ago like most atheists.

Edward Reiss said...

Freeman,

'"Thinking of you."

The difference between prayer and "thinking of you" is that when a believer prays, he or she is actually doing something positive for the object of the prayer. If I think of someone it is almost totally locked inside of me.

(BTW, a Hindi, Muslim, Jew etc. offers their prayer with the same assumption as a Christian--whether or not those assumptions are valid is beside the point for my claim above.)

Alex said...

Aridog - you sound like an old curmudgeon.

Get off my lawn!

Revenant said...

They wouldn't be atheists in the first place if the need for an afterlife was preeminent in their makeup.

That's probably true for some people, sure.

But let me ask you this: when you personally are deciding if a statement is true or false, is "what you emotionally want to be true" the primary driver behind your decision? For example, if you really, really, REALLY want to take a vacation in Hawaii this year, is that all the information you need to answer the question "can I afford a vacation in Hawaii this year"?

I have dead loved ones I would dearly love to see again. Sadly, I never will. That's life.

Astro said...

What did she expect, that he was going to live forever? Even people with boring, safe jobs die; this guy was a test pilot, one of the riskiest of all professions.
Is she expecting the First Assembly Church of the Non Existant God to send over a non-minister to tell her, 'Yeah, he died and life sucks. So move on'? Was she expecting comfort from nothingness?

They've got a church for that. It's called the local bar, and meetings are every Friday night.
(To paraphrase Drew Carey.)

Matt said...

Aridog

Well actually if you listen to the piece you would not conclude she is still grieving. Instead she is commenting on how she dealt with grieving at the time in a world where religion seems to be the only answer.

She was interviewed most likely because she is writing a book and because she is a notable person who fits into the profile of the subject of people losing their religion. Makes sense to me.

Revenant said...

Whether Eric wanted prayer or not is irrelevant.

Well, it was irrelevant to the priest, certainly. It wasn't irrelevant to Eric or his wife.

And given that they are the ones who were suffering, they are the ones whose opinions matter to me. :)

Aridog said...

Revenant ... she's not crazy, she's self absorbed. It's all about her...how much of her diatribe is really about Eric?

mccullough said...

I wonder if the priest billed for his services?

Crunchy Frog said...

Atheists believe in the non-existence of 1 more god than Christians do. :)

After all, I've never met a Christian who believes in Zeus.


Your god is whatever you put your trust in above all else. That could be money, reputation, career, relationship, honor, pride, or a thousand other things.

God (with a capital G) says in the 1st Commandment says, "You shall put no other gods before me." He wasn't just talking about Baal.

Revenant said...

Was she expecting comfort from nothingness?

Like pretty much everybody, she probably didn't do any advance planning to make sure the job of "person who will comfort me when my spouse dies" was filled in advance.

It isn't surprising that there aren't a lot of books, films, counselors, etc, aimed at helping atheists deal with grief. Most Americans hate us, and most of us don't admit our lack of faith to anyone but friends and family. Plus, we aren't a big market to begin with.

Personally, I find it best to focus on the things that make life worth living. Your loved one may be dead, but you aren't. Enjoy life and be a good person; that's enough for anyone.

Revenant said...

Your god is whatever you put your trust in above all else. That could be money, reputation, career, relationship, honor, pride, or a thousand other things.

Metaphor abuse. That's not what the word "god" means in a theological context. :)

Matt said...

mccullough

See my answer to Aridog above.

Also, I can't speak for the feelings of others but the second woman losing her son is something I don't expect her ever to 'get over'. Even after the grieving part it's not something you just shrug off. But, again, this radio piece is interesting because at one point the woman says she would like to see her son again but probably will not.

The question is; How does one deal with the cold reality of death when they want to believe in afterlife but just cannot? I find that interesting. It's something many deal with.

Revenant said...

Revenant ... she's not crazy, she's self absorbed.

You're thinking of you, I'm afraid. You don't care about her dead husband, therefore she's an asshole for caring about his death 12 years later.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
From your perspective, perhaps, but not objectively so. It is simply the recognition that our lives in the physical plane are all that we can or will know. Facing this knowledge, we have the opportunity--though few of us will avail ourselves of it--to live our lives as we wish, overcoming our fears and trying to achieve or obtain that which we want in this life while we have the brief opportunity to do so, rather than merely enduring this life in hope and wait for a better life after this one.

When the civil Rights Movement was keeping its eye on the prize they were appealing to a moral universe, a universe that for atheists can't exist.
Yet the appeal was to a moral universe and an objective morality that says how they were treated is in fact objectively wrong and not wrong in their opinions.
Those saps.

Smilin' Jack said...

For me, it requires a God so vindictive, spiteful and insecure as to say, at the moment of Judgment, "Well, you mostly got it right, during your trivially insignificant span on earth, but you didn't believe in Me, so - eternal torment for you!" Ditto for the argument that any nonbeliever in the correct religion goes to hell. That's not the God I believe in.

Ha! Not only will God send you to Hell for being an atheist, He'll send you to Hell if your great-great-grandfather was an atheist:

I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me.

Hope you enjoy the fragrance of burning sulfur....

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
Facing this knowledge, we have the opportunity--though few of us will avail ourselves of it--to live our lives as we wish, overcoming our fears and trying to achieve or obtain that which we want in this life while we have the brief opportunity to do so, rather than merely enduring this life in hope and wait for a better life after this one.

So, if the next Ted Bundy realizes that there is no god and decides to live the life that he wants which involves murdering coeds, there is really nothing, other than your opinion, to suggest that he is in fact wrong. He would be living his life as he sees fit, no? And all the laws in place are actually appeals to an objective morality, which doesn't actually exist.

Revenant said...

How does one deal with the cold reality of death when they want to believe in afterlife but just cannot?

We try not to dwell on it.

Aridog said...

... she is a notable person who fits into the profile of the subject of people losing their religion.

Ah, yes...indeed, unlike soldiers, firemen and policemen, who've lost their faiths, she's "notable." Somebody hurt her feelings a dozen years ago and she's still on about it. Boo Hoo.

jr565 said...

Robert Cook wrote:
Facing this knowledge, we have the opportunity--though few of us will avail ourselves of it--to live our lives as we wish, overcoming our fears and trying to achieve or obtain that which we want in this life while we have the brief opportunity to do so, rather than merely enduring this life in hope and wait for a better life after this one.

So, if the next Ted Bundy realizes that there is no god and decides to live the life that he wants which involves murdering coeds, there is really nothing, other than your opinion, to suggest that he is in fact wrong. He would be living his life as he sees fit, no? And all the laws in place are actually appeals to an objective morality, which doesn't actually exist.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger Revenant said...

Revenant ... she's not crazy, she's self absorbed.

You're thinking of you, I'm afraid. You don't care about her dead husband, therefore she's an asshole for caring about his death 12 years later.

1/16/13, 2:45 PM
_________________________________

Why would one random aggregation of organic molecules 'care' for the absence of another random aggregation of organic molecules in a meaningless purposeless universe? Caring for the dead doesn't seem any more rational than
religion.

Matt said...

Aridog
It's all about her...how much of her diatribe is really about Eric?

That is the point. It stopped being about Eric when he died. You are not really understanding this. From an atheist perspective when someone dies then the person left is the one who has to deal with the loss. Since Eric is gone it very much can never be about him because he can't be the recipient of anything anymore. He is gone.

One could certainly tell someone to stop feeling sorry for themselves but I don't think she is playing that card. She is talking about how she dealt with this in the past. It is her life - so yeah it is about her.

But what she learned in the process is something she can pass on to others who deal with similar issues. I am assuming her book deals with this. I see nothing wrong with that.

Revenant said...

When the civil Rights Movement was keeping its eye on the prize they were appealing to a moral universe, a universe that for atheists can't exist.

Authority isn't the same as morality, and certainly isn't the same as liberty.

If your reason for taking an action is that you think God wants you to, you aren't following a moral framework. You're just following orders.

Inga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Thats not what I'm saying Rev. I'm asking WHY was how blacks were treated wrong? Other than your personal opinion that things shouldn't be so, what else do you have?

Revenant said...

Why would one random aggregation of organic molecules 'care' for the absence of another random aggregation of organic molecules in a meaningless purposeless universe?

If you're asking why people would rationally choose to care, the answer is that nobody rationally chooses what they care about. Caring is emotional.

If you would like an explanation of *why* people -- and other animals -- care about each other, I can recommend some books on evolutionary psychology that suggest some possible answers.

And if you're just trying to be a dick about atheism, well, grow up. :)

mccullough said...

Matt,

There is a difference between "getting over" something and moving on with your life. I feel bad for the lady. She's dedicated her life to researching grief and wasting time at self-help groups, and it hasn't worked. Some people are psychologically incapable of moving on. This woman appears to be one of them.

Aridog said...

Revanant said...

You don't care about her dead husband, therefore she's an asshole for caring about his death 12 years later.

Oh, she's caring about his death? How novel. My take she was caring more about how well meaning people didn't respect them for their atheism that she asserts they needn't hide anymore. Say what?

Inga said...

How bleak, how sad, how awful to truly believe that there is no existence beyond this earthly one. What of all the accounts of near death experiences?

I believe, despite being agnostic that there IS something more to our existence and to our passing from this existence.

Read "Proof of Heaven" or the accounts of thousands of oher people who have had an NDE.

Levi Starks said...

I would argue that Eric never existed,
Which would make me an A-ericist. I've never seen Eric, And she expects me to take her word for it. To me Eric is exists only in her mind.
She has a belief that he once existed, and she carries that thought around in her imagination, and it gives her power to make it through the day.

jr565 said...

Any appeal made to "justice" would actually be appeals to an objective morality bigger than man. Otherwise the only morality is peoples opinions about what is right. And you have an opinion and I have an opinion.

Do we really have a "right" to liberty? Or is that just an opinion imposed on us. Are our rights actually inalienable, or is that just an imposed morality?

Mitchell the Bat said...

When I die, I just hope it's slow enough that God's info tech angels have enough time to off-load all my memory.

Levi Starks said...

Eric is in fact her God, and he is now rotting in the ground.
Mine is not......

Crunchy Frog said...

Metaphor abuse. That's not what the word "god" means in a theological context. :)

Incorrect.

The First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me

That is: Thou shalt have [and worship] Me alone as thy God. What is the force of this, and how is it to be understood? What does it mean to have a god? or, what is God? Answer: A god means that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress, so that to have a God is nothing else than to trust and believe Him from the [whole] heart; as I have often said that the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.

Excerpted from Luther's Large Catechism

jr565 said...

Atheists can't really answer who is the better person Martin Luther King or Jack the Ripper, without putting IN MY PERSONAL OPINION in front of their statement. Because they are no more "right" than anyone else. There would be no such thing as a "good" person, except in your own mind. Hitler may in fact be the best person to some people. Why are they wrong?
You have no answer, without a morality above man, which requires a moral universe. You only have your opinion.
And there are billions of people in the world. How is your opinion any more valid than any one elses?

Rocketeer said...

It's not just an issue for atheists. I'm reminded of a joke I heard once - or was it a parable? Anyway:

There was a devout man, trapped in his house during a terrible flood. The water rose and rose, until finally he had to go up on the roof to get above water. A neighbor floated by in a canoe, and offered to take the man away to safety. "No, I'll stay," he said. "The Lord will keep me safe." The water continued to rise. The sheriff came by in a speedboat, and offered to take him to safety. "No, I have faith the Lord will deliver me from harm." Finally, he stood on the roof, with water up to his chin. The National Guard flew over in a helicopter, and lowered a PJ to pluck him out of the water, but the man refused to leave. "I don't place my trust in man!" he said. "GOD will save me yet!"

The man drowned. When he got to the pearly gates, he walked straight up to God, and said to Him, "I had faith in you - how could you abandon me and leave me to drown??" God looked at him, and said, "Abandon you? What are you talking about? The fact that you're here is YOUR FAULT. I sent a canoe, a speedboat and a helicopter with a parajumper for you, what more did you expect?"

Aridog said...

For the record I know how, when and where my faith slipped away. I was not alone in that event. I have little respect for "declared atheists" because they merely make a new religion trying derive equivalence between religion and atheism, when they are opposites. Phony as hell, that. Who gives a shit? If religion is bunk, what's the beef?

jr565 said...

There is no reason a war monger trying to take over the world and enslave all the lesser races is somehow "evil" since we'd first have to assume that warmongering is objectively wrong, enslavement is objectively wrong and that we shouldn't define races as lesser. But, you can't.

Scott M said...

How is that a better place?

Where he's at, he isn't stuck with all those hospital bills.

Astro said...

My wife died about a year ago.
Iris DeMent sums up my attitude about death and being the surviving spouse:
Let The Mystery Be

Crunchy Frog said...

The Lord be with you Astro.

LuAnn Zieman said...

Revenent--Most Americans hate atheists? Well, they can't be the Christians because hatred is unChristian. Christians pray for those without faith; yes, even those who don't wish to be prayed for. There are many former atheists who became Christians because someone was praying for them. Be forewarned. :)

Revenant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

Thats not what I'm saying Rev. I'm asking WHY was how blacks were treated wrong?

Well you certainly can't argue that it was because the Christian God had a problem with it; both the Old and New Testament endorse slavery. :)

Other than your personal opinion that things shouldn't be so, what else do you have?

Our personal opinion of what is right and wrong is what everybody relies on. Either you're doing what you think is right, or you're simply following the orders of someone else telling you what is right. Like I noted about, the latter can't be called morality.

Now, I'm sure you'll follow up with "well what about Ted Bundy blur blah blah", but you're missing the point. Out of the estimated 100 billion humans who have ever lived, 100 billion have either followed orders or done what they think is right. So the answer to your question is simple: I don't give a rat's ass if *you* think it is fine and dandy for a serial killer to murder innocent people, I say it isn't. :)

Revenant said...

Revenent--Most Americans hate atheists? Well, they can't be the Christians because hatred is unChristian

Well, people do like to say that most Americans are Christian.

But if you're only going to count the people who actually act the way Christians are supposed to act, it is safe to say there has never been a nation where most of the people are Christians. Even the Vatican wouldn't qualify.

n.n said...

Aridog:

My confrontation with God, and with my parents, occurred when I was sixteen. At first, I rejected his possibility, their faith, and our heritage. I long ago walked back from that omniscient state of existence. I now judge each faith, including atheism, by the principles it engenders. I do not, however, pass judgment in immaculate ignorance. I recognize the contributions from different sources throughout my life to the formation of my intelligence and coherence of my will.

As for Christianity and similar, if their faith is true, then the consequences of disobedience will become known in our post-mortem; otherwise, our constituent particles will become disrupted, our energy incoherent, and we will simply be "heard" no more.

I don't know if straddling the fence on this topic is better or worse than choosing a side; but, rejecting or accepting one position or another without sufficient cause seems to be more objectionable.

Revenant said...

Excerpted from Luther's Large Catechism

That's fine, except the definition Luther gave isn't the one you gave.

You simply defined "god" as the thing you trust the most. Luther required much more obsessive devotion than that.

Quayle said...

The question of how could a loving God allow such things (the death of my son) is a good question...

...until one accepts the notion that our present life is Act II of a III act play, and God doesn't see death as a big deal at all.

Is it painful for us? Absolutely.

Does God condemn us for feeling the pain?

Certainly not. It is what we came to experience in Act II - joy, pain, health, sickness, love, hate.

We're here in a learning environment.

And from just looking at the physical world as an example, pain has a educational purpose.

It teaches us to not touch things.

It teaches us what peace and joy are.

There is no such thing as the joy of being with others (or a resurrection) without the pain of death and loss.

So however shallow old-school religions have made the issues around life, God isn't perplexed or shocked that we reel under the experiences we have here.

He just has it all in hand, and knows we're getting what we came for: experience.

And the notion that an atheist is damned to hell is a stupid sectarian notion that is false. Atheists are learning from the things they experience in this life, just as much and perhaps more than many believers.

The story of Saul/Paul certainly teaches that a lot of personal development and goodness can be developed even in the absence of some salient truths, and that people can adopt those truths and leverage on all past development, in an instant.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
Our personal opinion of what is right and wrong is what everybody relies on. Either you're doing what you think is right, or you're simply following the orders of someone else telling you what is right. Like I noted about, the latter can't be called morality.

except that's exactly what you morality is. Following orders of someone else telling you what is right. Is there really a problem with killin people in a Darwinian universe? No. Therefore if you wind up on jail for killing people it's because you broke the rules set by people with a difference of opinion to you and the rightness or wrongness of said rule was simply the imposition of a rule imposed on you by other men. So you're just following orders. In other words you can't say that laws are moral.
Really the only morality you can say is true is might makes right. If we were in a plane crash and wound up on a deserted island by ourselves would there be any problem with me murdering you or you murderig me other than our personal opinion that we don't want to be murdered?

jr565 said...

If you are a serial killer and you think killing whores is right, and you kill hundreds around he country,are you in fact a bad person?
On what basis?

Jim said...

I heard this on NPR this morning. Want to preface that I consider myself evangelical Christian.

But, I think that Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus, to name just 3 writers speak to the human condition without resorting to a deistic framework. When I heard the word nothing, I was confused.

donald said...

I hope I'm not pissed off at the world in 11 years.

The one thing I'm learning is ya just gotta let a lot of stuff go.

A lot of stuff really, after all the navel gazing in the world, rally don't matter.

Kelly said...

People say all kinds of stupid things to those grieving..I know, I grew up in a funeral home and saw it all the time. The woman fixated on what people said about her husband being in a better place should just take it at face value. They were trying to comfort her, perhaps clumsily, but their intentions were good.

The Farmer said...

JPS said...
The Farmer, 1:23:

"In all fairness, if he was an atheist too, he's in a much worse place."

Maybe I'm being dense by asking, but I think you're saying if he was an atheist he's in hell now. If not, please disregard.

But - no disrespect to anyone's religion - I've never understood this idea, that an atheist who (suppose for the sake of argument) leads a life of good deeds is going to hell just for being an atheist.

For me, it requires a God so vindictive, spiteful and insecure as to say, at the moment of Judgment, "Well, you mostly got it right, during your trivially insignificant span on earth, but you didn't believe in Me, so - eternal torment for you!" Ditto for the argument that any nonbeliever in the correct religion goes to hell. That's not the God I believe in.


I was just being a wise-ass, but yeah, of course an atheist goes to hell. How many good deeds you do is irrelevant. And it has nothing to do with God's character. It has to do with choices you make. The idea that Christianity is about being a good person is totally wrong. It's about a lot of things but to the extent it has to do with good behavior, that's only in the sense that it's tied into dying to self and living for God. Divorcing the deeds from the source inevitably perverts the deeds and make them ego-oriented. They may have some very good results in the world, but they're of relatively little value spiritually.

Theoretically, a person could reject God and still live a perfect life morally by obeying the laws of God that are written on the human heart, but in practice, nobody does. Ever. Not even the person who believes in God, which is why Catholics have the sacrament of confession, and the doctrine of Purgatory. Even our Protestant friends believe in forgiveness of sins. But the atheist thinks he doesn't need to be forgiven. He thinks he doesn't require redemption. He says, "I'm not sick, and I'm signing myself out against medical advice," but you want God to perform a miracle cure on him anyway. But justice goes hand in hand with mercy, besides which, for God not to respect the atheist's wishes would mean the atheist wouldn't genuinely have free will.

We're free to love God or reject him. If we reject him we can't turn around and complain about God supposedly being petty and vindictive. He didn't make the call - you did. If you reject God, you deal with the eternal consequences. It's been that way since the Fall. And God even gave us a mulligan by becoming man and offering redemption. If you say "No thanks, I'm not buying it," fair enough - your choice. But you don't get a seat at the table after death just because you helped some old ladies cross the street and volunteered at the soup kitchen.

Bryan C said...

"She probably found it offensive, much in the way that Jews, for example, find it offensive when Mormons go baptising dead Jews into the Mormon faith (or whatever it was they were doing with Holocaust victims)"

Fair enough. Some religious people are offended by heresies against fellow believers. But what rational basis is there for taking offense on behalf of someone who claimed to have no religion?

EMD said...

Atheist only sent thoughts to victim's family.

CachorroQuente said...

"For me, it requires a God so vindictive, spiteful and insecure as to say, at the moment of Judgment, "Well, you mostly got it right, during your trivially insignificant span on earth, but you didn't believe in Me, so - eternal torment for you!" Ditto for the argument that any nonbeliever in the correct religion goes to hell. That's not the God I believe in."

But the great sin is nonbelief. So, what sort of God is it that would condemn someone to an eternity in Hell for the sin of having been created insufficiently gullible by that same God?

Matt said...

jr565

Is there really a problem with killin people in a Darwinian universe?

Yes, there is a problem with killing people. Are you saying that if there was no God then you would run around and kill people? Are you saying that you stick to moral principles ONLY because of your belief in god or religion?

Seems to me to be a pretty screwed up way to approach things. The reason atheists don't kill their nieghbors is because life is precious and taking a life is wrong for many reasons - not least because other people would suffer if that person was gone. It's common sense.

Jim said...

What sort of loving God would sentence someone to an eternity spent with a Deity they found so repugnant in life?

As an Evangelical, I view Hell as a choice that is the consequence of rejecting God's free gift of eternal life.

Revenant said...

except that's exactly what you morality is. Following orders of someone else telling you what is right.

Oh? Whose orders have the voices in your head told you I'm following? :)

Is there really a problem with killin people in a Darwinian universe?

I don't know what "a Darwinian universe" is supposed to mean in English, unless it is your way of saying "the real world". But certainly I have a problem with you killing people. Does the universe have a problem with it? Well, last I checked the greatest mass murderer in history died in his 80s at the height of his power. So I think we can objectively say that the universe isn't going to do a damned thing to punish murderers or prevent them from killing. That's up to us. :)

Revenant said...

But what rational basis is there for taking offense on behalf of someone who claimed to have no religion?

He didn't want anyone praying over him. Someone prayed over him anyway. One of his loved ones took offense.

Are you really, honestly asking what her basis was for taking offense?

Bryan C said...

"But the great sin is nonbelief. So, what sort of God is it that would condemn someone to an eternity in Hell for the sin of having been created insufficiently gullible by that same God?"

We are a fallen creation. God has bound Himself to respect the capacity for free will He created within us. He won't force you to accept His salvation or remove your capacity to make that choice for yourself.

Revenant said...

As an Evangelical, I view Hell as a choice that is the consequence of rejecting God's free gift of eternal life.

Except that doesn't make any sense, because the people in Hell get eternal life, too. So the real choice is "eternity in Hell, or eternity with the kind of asshole who sends people to hell for not believing he exists". A choice between two forms of eternal suffering is not a choice.

Now, if the choice was between heaven and post-death nonexistence, you could argue with a straight face that the god in question was being reasonable. But insisting that people accept your existence on faith and tormenting them eternally if they don't is about as perfect an example of pure evil as one could hope for.

jr565 said...

Matt wrote:
Yes, there is a problem with killing people. Are you saying that if there was no God then you would run around and kill people? Are you saying that you stick to moral principles ONLY because of your belief in god or religion?

Please explain why it's objectively wrong other than resorting to your opinion that it's wrong. It's only objectively wrong if theres a moral universe. If you don't believe there is then you can't argue that killing is objectively wrong.

CachorroQuente said...

"If you are a serial killer and you think killing whores is right, and you kill hundreds around he country,are you in fact a bad person?
On what basis?"

Of course you're not a bad person; you're a God fearing Christian doing the Lord's work and will be rewarded for all eternity. That's why we atheists don't want to go to heaven. Who wants to spend eternity in the company of a bunch of rapists, slave mongers, and serial killers.

Heaven -- let the Phelps clan have it.

Revenant said...

God has bound Himself to respect the capacity for free will He created within us.

Amusingly enough, the same logic Anton Chigurh uses for killing people in "No Country for Old Men".

Now, personally, I found his character to be insane and evil. But I guess if "hey, I'm just following the rules I created" works as an excuse then he wasn't so bad. :)

jr565 said...

Matt wrote:
The reason atheists don't kill their nieghbors is because life is precious and taking a life is wrong for many reasons - not least because other people would suffer if that person was gone. It's common sense.

What if you don't care about other peoples suffering? What if you think that personal gain is a morally superior to avoiding others suffering to prevent you from getting your way? Again, you keep falling back on this objective morality that we call should share because it simply is. But, if you don't believe in a moral universe, then no, everything you just said about the way we act is merely your opinion as to the way you think we should act.

jr565 said...

Cachoro Quente wrote:
That's why we atheists don't want to go to heaven. Who wants to spend eternity in the company of a bunch of rapists, slave mongers, and serial killers.

Heaven -- let the Phelps clan have it.

Leave heaven out of it. What about right here on earth?

CachorroQuente said...

"We are a fallen creation. God has bound Himself to respect the capacity for free will He created within us. He won't force you to accept His salvation or remove your capacity to make that choice for yourself. "

That's nonsense. Quite literally, nonsense. Simple words put together in a meaningless way.

Matt said...

jr565

Whoops, I didn't realize you were an atheist. I thought you were a religious person making an argument. I must have misunderstood. Carry on.

Revenant said...

Whoops, I didn't realize you were an atheist. I thought you were a religious person making an argument

jr doesn't make arguments. He just keeps asking the same questions over and over until the other person gets bored and stops. :)

Carol said...

what sort of God is it that would condemn someone to an eternity in Hell

You're right - God is a shit..damn that God, for not measuring up to our expectations.

jr565 said...

Matt wrote:
The reason atheists don't kill their nieghbors is because life is precious and taking a life is wrong for many reasons - not least because other people would suffer if that person was gone. It's common sense.

If you are the maker of your morality, and really if there is no moral universe, who else is going to create your morality other tahn you, then isn't the answer to the questions about why you shouldn't kill your neighbor answers that you would answer for yourself. You say life is precious. Why? TO Who? Is that objectively true, or subjectively true? Common sense is one of the worst arguments for 'morality". After all, a thief can make a common sense argument that if he kills his victims and leaves no witnesses, that he will probalby not go to jail. IS that moral?
THe meek shall inherit the earth, according to scripture. But if there is no God or moral universe, what if the meek are the ones that just finish last? So then why would it be less moral to not try to get the most shiny stuff for yourself and screw everybody else? THat would be selfish, but so what? Selfishness being a bad thing would be as subjective as killing people and I could make plenty of common sense arguments as to why being selfish is better than being poor. For example, I have lots of money, I get to live in a nice house. All you have on your side is in your personal opinion it's wrong to be selfish.
Well, you can say that is true for your personally but you can't argue that it's objectively true for others.
And I can counter you saying selfishness is bad by saying, selfishness is good. SO where does that leave us?
Is either of us right? Wouldn't that require a morality above both of us? You say it doesn't exist.
So where does that leave you?
Common sense would say that if I live in a nice house and you live on the street in a box that I'm right and you're wrong.

CachorroQuente said...

"Leave heaven out of it. What about right here on earth?"

Ok, right here on earth. On what basis does the "moral universe" that you imagine command a moral system in which a murderer of whores is a bad person? I suspect that you believe only a bad person would be a murderer of whores -- what is your basis for that belief?

mccullough said...

jr565,

What's the difference between an objective morality no one can know and what most people do day-to-day? Matt, Rev., and the others here aren't going on any killing spree even though they acknowledge there is no supernatural moral authority. Just as there are plenty of believers who kill and rape.

Christians believe one thing, Muslims another, etc. They can't all be right and no one can know which is. They can all be wrong.

Believing doesn't change anything.

jr565 said...

Ok, right here on earth. On what basis does the "moral universe" that you imagine command a moral system in which a murderer of whores is a bad person? I suspect that you believe only a bad person would be a murderer of whores -- what is your basis for that belief?

BEcause I believe the idea that murder is absolutely wrong and that morality is not simply in the eye of the beholder. Which requires a moral universe.

jr565 said...

Murder would be wrong, even if I thought it would be right. I'm not the determiner of that fact.

CachorroQuente said...

"BEcause I believe the idea that murder is absolutely wrong and that morality is not simply in the eye of the beholder."

Ok, it's your belief. Beliefs are like opinions which are like nipples; everybody has one.

Bryan C said...

"Are you really, honestly asking what her basis was for taking offense?"

No, not really. I find the woman and her devout denomination of atheism tedious and pretentious. Others have obviously said that much more effectively than I did.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
But certainly I have a problem with you killing people. Does the universe have a problem with it? Well, last I checked the greatest mass murderer in history died in his 80s at the height of his power. So I think we can objectively say that the universe isn't going to do a damned thing to punish murderers or prevent them from killing. That's up to us. :)

Right. YOU have a problem with it. With no basis of rightness and wrongess other than that YOU have a problem with it.
And the greatest mass murderer who killed the most number of people who died in his 80;s had a difference of opinion.
Why is what he did even wrong, other than you personally think it's wrong? YOu can either argue it objectively or subjectively. You've already acknowledged that there can be no objective morality (since you dont think there is a moral universe) so now we're left with your opinion. Well, lets look at that. He killed the most number of people and lived to his 80's. Common sensically it sounds like his way was pretty effective. No? And HE didnt think what he was doing was immoral. or if he did, he didn't care.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
Oh? Whose orders have the voices in your head told you I'm following? :)

You're following laws written by men.

Matt said...

jr565

Considering that people of faith kill and have been killing in the name of god and religion for thousands of years I am pretty safe in saying that this objective morality and moral universe you speak of applies to every single person, culture, belief, etc.

Assuming there is a god does not in and of itself prevent most people from committing murder. Sure, there might be a few. But the same number would most likely apply to atheists who understand that the way society works killing people is not a good or just or correct thing to do.

You are essentially saying that if atheists thought about it then they would conclude they could just go kill everyone in sight and be okay with it. But that is an intellectual argument for the classroom. Reality will always trump that scenario from happening without consequences. And believers and non believers know that. So the argument you make is bunk.

CachorroQuente said...

jr565, you and the murderer of whores agree that there is objective morality which is based on the "moral universe" that you and he both believe in. Your objective morality leads you to believe that the murderer of whores is an evil person. The murderer of whores believes that he is doing the Lord's work and that objective morality demands that he murder whores. Which of you is correct?

In the years leading up to the Civil War, pious Christians concluded that morality demanded the enslavement of blacks -- it was a moral good. Other quite pious Christians concluded the opposite -- that slavery was morally repugnant. Some (John Brown and others) found slavery so morally repugnant that their morality demanded the murder of slavery's proponents.

Objective morality all around.

Synova said...

I just saw this post and I tried to read the article and I just don't care. It was impossible to care. I don't care about someone who wants comfort but won't accept it. Sure, yes, people don't know what to say and they say and do dumb things. Hello, humanity! That's sort of the definition of it. And I no longer feel personally spiritually responsible for anyone who responds to tragedy with the asinine "why would God want my child to die" idiocy. Immersed in grief of not, a walking functioning human being isn't that dumb. I'm just too old and cranky to put up with it.

Yes, there are people who really do say horrible things and maybe they should get one, pow, right in the kisser, but what is it otherwise than being angry at death and taking it out on everyone else?

People die. Tragedies happen. There is no purpose or explanation in it. There are no solutions. No fixes. No getting better.

Bryan C said...

"But I guess if "hey, I'm just following the rules I created" works as an excuse then he wasn't so bad. :)"

But it's not about following rules. It's about respecting the rights of people to make bad choices.

Jim S. said...

Some Orthodox Christians maintain that heaven and hell are the same place. The fires of hell consist of God's love being showered upon those who do not want him to exist or for him to love them.

CachorroQuente said...

"You're following laws written by men."

As are you.

Revenant said...

Murder would be wrong, even if I thought it would be right. I'm not the determiner of that fact.

So the only reason you don't rape children to death is that you think God is against it?

Yeah, you probably ought to go to church. Children aren't safe around you, otherwise. :)

Revenant said...

But it's not about following rules. It's about respecting the rights of people to make bad choices.

Yes, that was Chigurh's position as well.

Revenant said...

You're following laws written by men.

Only inasmuch as I'm a man. :)

jr565 said...

mccullough wrote;
What's the difference between an objective morality no one can know and what most people do day-to-day? Matt, Rev., and the others here aren't going on any killing spree even though they acknowledge there is no supernatural moral authority. Just as there are plenty of believers who kill and rape.

What if they wre going on killing sprees, based on their own moral reasoning. On what basis are we saying they are wrong to do so, but objective morality?
EVen your suggestion that they are atheists and not going on kiling sprees is still positing an objective morality. I'm not saying that if you don't believe in god you will do evil things necessarily. I'm saying doing Good things or bad things becomes irrelevant. You simply do things. An atheist may be completely charitable and help the poor. But that doesnt mean that being charitable is a virtue. There would be no virtue or evil. Only what we think are virtue or evil. So, if you think being charitable is virtuos and I think being uncharitable is virtuous then neither is right or wrong.
If you were to appeal to me that being charitable is a moral virtue, you would inevitably HAVE To argue that it was objectively true. Otherwise you're simply stating an opinion as to what ought to be, and the only reason you have to say it outght to be that way is because you say so. But everyone in the world can make the same or different argument about any moral question.

JPS said...

Edward Reiss, 2:28; The Farmer, 3:43:

Thank you gentlemen for your thought-provoking responses. I'm not sure I agree, but I understand your point of view better than I did.

Balfegor said...

Re: jr565:

Please explain why it's objectively wrong other than resorting to your opinion that it's wrong. It's only objectively wrong if theres a moral universe. If you don't believe there is then you can't argue that killing is objectively wrong.

Well, first let's draw some distinctions. Is it the case that killing is always and everywhere wrong? I don't believe that and nor do most Americans. That's why we fight wars. That's why we don't immediately condemn a killing in self-defense. That's why we have the death penalty.

Once we're clear that killing is not objectively wrong in and of itself, then we can consider what makes a killing morally wrong. And what makes a killing morally wrong varies from moral system to moral system, but in general, we condemn the killing of those who have not injured us or any of our fellows, and condone the killing of those who have, or are about to. This makes obvious evolutionary sense.

The advantages are even clearer today than they have ever been before. How could a society in which no one trusts anyone else, where every bit of surplus production must be invested in self-defense, hope to compete with us?

(That said, the immediate incentives may break down in isolated conditions, particularly when there is scarcity -- that's why Christians sometimes eat each other.)

But more than mere pragmatism, as humans, we experience emotions like friendship, love, fellow-feeling, sympathy, and pity. Morality is one step in the transformation of these inchoate feelings into a guide for how we may live, consistent with our feelings. And our biological embodiment, with its passions and humours, does matter. After all, if we were built like insects, I'm not sure that we would have any moral qualms about killing at all.

Synova said...

"Second, her daughter said "As an ecologist and as a scientist, we believe that when you die, your energy becomes part of a system again." This is a complete non sequitur."

It's also not in any way scientific. It's a religious, spiritual belief. Scientifically we're part of a system of energy exchange every moment of our lives. "My" energy is not defining of myself or even constant, not even as part of my physicality, bound up in carbon chains. In a sense we're nearly ephemeral as physical/energy beings.

Synova said...

"Only inasmuch as I'm a man. :)"

I have always always thought you were a man.

Until that Stephanie Plum thing... that shook the foundations of my world.

Revenant said...

Until that Stephanie Plum thing... that shook the foundations of my world.

It could be worse. I could be a "brony".

jr565 said...

Chachoro Quente:
"You're following laws written by men."

As are you.

I agree. But the point Rev made was that peopel are only being good because God says things are right and wrong so you are simply following orders. How is following the rules created by men different?
Either you believe in a morality that is above us, i.e. true whether we want it to be or not, or you think that there isn't. If there isn't, then on what basis are laws moral? Laws would simple be the codified opions of other people who you may or may not agree with. Murder would be wrong, not because murder is objectively wrong but because those making the rules said it should be wrong. But take slavery. Those making the rules say it's right? Those appealing to end slavery had to argue that no, objectively slavery is wrong absolutely.Which is why the abolitionists were all religious men. If you are an an atheist that can't be true. Slavery is neither wrong nor right. You hold an opinion on the matter of course, but your morality is your own morality and any other living person would similarly hold opinions and there morality would be there morality.
So you are left with slavery was wrong because you think it ought to be that way. But proponents of slavery would say slavery should be right because it outght to be that way.
Thats all atheist morality is.

mccullough said...

jr565,

I'm saying it doesn't matter. Psychologically, most people behave the way they behave without giving any thought to it.

Most people consider rape self-evidently bad without having to appeal to God or Plato or Kant.

The people who commit rape do not do so after a moral dialogue in which they contemplate the origins and nature of right and wrong.

And the people who engage in theological or philosophical debate often don't agree about whether God exists or which God exists.

Allah wants you to kill the infidels. Jesus wants you to love your enemies and turn the other cheek. And on and on and on . . .

Claiming you are right and others wrong because your objective morality is real and their objective morality is false is useless.

Matt said...

Synova

People die. Tragedies happen. There is no purpose or explanation in it. There are no solutions. No fixes. No getting better.

I sort of agreed with you until you wrote that. There certainly are explanations that can clarify as well as solutions and fixes to the WAY people die and perhaps WHEN people die. Tragedy can be prevented if certain actions are taken. For instance, if you witness a fight you can call the cops and maybe prevent murder. Or a murderer can be killed before he strikes again. Same applies to nations. If we act in time to overthrow a dictator or stop a war from spreading we can prevent deaths as well. I don't think the world is on some road led by predestination and fate. Which perhaps is not what you are saying.

chickelit said...

Nessuno mandato dei fiori a Fiore.

carrie said...

To each their own. However, I really feel sorry for children of atheists. It is one thing for people to know a religion and then reject it, and it is another thing to reject something that you have never known. I know children of atheists who are curious and searching when it comes to religion, but they feel pressure to not do much about it.

Synova said...

Matt, I'm talking about death itself or tragedy as a "sure thing". Yes, any individual instance and you might be able to point and say *that* should not have happened. But we say someone died "before their time" and really, I don't think we can have a "time" because, if you get to be here *at all* then you also get to die.

There's a lot of "better to have never been born" and I don't know how that can possibly be true, even if someone is born into a nasty situation and dies young. But we don't really value life so that we'd value it in however small an amount. We value life conditionally. We value life when it doesn't hurt us or leave us bereft and that's too bad.

CachorroQuente said...

"But take slavery. Those making the rules say it's right? Those appealing to end slavery had to argue that no, objectively slavery is wrong absolutely.Which is why the abolitionists were all religious men. "

And all the proponents of slavery were religious people, too. Where is the objective morality when everyone comes to a different conclusion as to the nature of that morality?

Today we have people arguing that objective morality demands that we accept homosexual behavior as right, proper and normal while others hold that the same "moral universe" demands that homosexuals be shunned, imprisoned, and even killed.

There are hundreds of such issues, I'm sure, where proponents of objective morality differ as to what that objective morality is. My question is, if objective morality is dictated by this "moral universe" that you imagine, why do objective people have such a hard time figuring out what that morality is?

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

So you are left with slavery was wrong because you think it ought to be that way. But proponents of slavery would say slavery should be right because it outght to be that way. Thats all atheist morality is.

That's kind of a hilarious example, given the actual history of 19th century America. America was, then even more than now, an overwhelmingly Christian nation. The debate over slavery was largely between those who claimed God required the abolition of slavery and those who claimed slavery was divinely sanctioned.

Which is why we have a Southern Methodist church and a Southern Baptist church: because the Methodists and Baptists couldn't agree on what God wanted.

So one has to smile when confronted with the notion that "atheist morality" would lead to a world where the question of whether or not slavery is wrong has no obvious answer. Indeed, if the answer was obvious you would think Christians wouldn't have gotten it wrong for the first 1850 years of their faith. :)

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

And he was simply following his own morality. Isn't that what you say morality is? So then why call him evil?

You'd already know my answer if you devoted as much effort to reading the answers to your questions as you do to asking them again. :)

n.n said...

mccullough:

Everyone has a faith, a discernment of reality derived from outside their frame of reference. Whether they call to a God, gods, or mortals pretending to godhood, they hope for change and a return on their investment. Whether morality is an emergent physical, prescribed divine, or experientially derived phenomenon, only matters if there is a conflict of faith.

In any case, none of it matters, unless a person recognizes individual dignity, perhaps only their own, and it is in the latter case that conflict and irreconcilable differences arise.

jr565 said...

Rev wrote:
Amusingly enough, the same logic Anton Chigurh uses for killing people in "No Country for Old Men".

Now, personally, I found his character to be insane and evil. But I guess if "hey, I'm just following the rules I created" works as an excuse then he wasn't so bad. :)


I found his character to be evil too. But I think we view evil differently. I think because of your view of evil all you can really say is you personally think that he's evil but your opinion holds no more weight than his opion that hes moral. Or his opinion that he doesn't care what you think.

And he was simply following his own morality. Isn't that what you say morality is? So then why call him evil?

You write:

Personally, I find it best to focus on the things that make life worth living. Your loved one may be dead, but you aren't. Enjoy life and be a good person; that's enough for anyone.

What if Chigurg thought he was being a good person? He certainly seemed to have his own moral code. Why does he have to be good anyway? IF he follows that code is he evil? And what if he enjoyed his life killing people?

And no it's not enough for anyone. It's enough for you. Again, that is YOUR morality and YOUR morality alone. And you are simlpy judging him because he doesn't correspond to YOUR morality. He might even agree with your principle entirely but think being a good perosn means killing people at the flip of a coin.
Again, your concept of being a good person requires an objective morality. Anton and everyone else has to agree with your idea of what a good person is, otherwise you are simply stating a platitude that is only relevant to yourself.
But you also wrote:

Our personal opinion of what is right and wrong is what everybody relies on. Either you're doing what you think is right, or you're simply following the orders of someone else telling you what is right. Like I noted about, the latter can't be called morality.

So lets take Anton Chiturg (or Sugar). He reliesd on his own opinon of right and wrong just as everyone else does. So how is he any more or less evil than you or any of the people he kills in the movie. You think he's evil for doing what he feels is right. And if you want him stopped or punished then you think he should follow the laws that he refuses to abide by. They're not gods laws because you dont think those are real, but they are therfore mans law. Wouldnt that therefore be following the orders of someone else telling you what is right? Should Chicurg abide by rules that say don't kill people? In the case of man made laws, there is no higher authority on the morality of any question but the men making those laws. But why are those men more right than Anton Chicurg?

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
So one has to smile when confronted with the notion that "atheist morality" would lead to a world where the question of whether or not slavery is wrong has no obvious answer. Indeed, if the answer was obvious you would think Christians wouldn't have gotten it wrong for the first 1850 years of their faith. :)

There is no basis for your morality other than your personal opinion about what is right. therefore the whole question of atheists coming to the right answer is a non question. There is no basis for your morality other than yourself. So if you found slavery to be right then its right and if you found salvery to be wrong then its wrong.

Revenant said...

Everyone has a faith, a discernment of reality derived from outside their frame of reference. Whether they call to a God, gods, or mortals pretending to godhood, they hope for change and a return on their investment.

Oh? Who do I call to?

Revenant said...

There is no basis for your morality other than your personal opinion about what is right.

That makes two of us. :)

Shana said...

Henry said... "I would recommend that Fiore read Beowulf. There is a great non-Christian literature of tragedy and grief. It speaks to a way of living -- and the importance of living -- in the inevitable future"

That is highly debatable. Beowulf himself is a Christ figure. It was probably originally pagan, but had Christian elements added by a Christian priest.

n.n said...

Revenant:

It was atheists, in service of their base desires, exploiting other people's base desires, that murdered around 200 million people, enslaved over 1 billion people, and normalized abortion of several million people annually, and accomplished this feat in less than one hundred years. With this record, they are only in competition with Muslims, who accomplished the same over a span of two thousand years.

The best that can be said about anyone, is that they are not represented by a collective.

jr565 said...

Cachoro Quente wrote:
There are hundreds of such issues, I'm sure, where proponents of objective morality differ as to what that objective morality is. My question is, if objective morality is dictated by this "moral universe" that you imagine, why do objective people have such a hard time figuring out what that morality is?

The question is on what basis are YOU viewing something as moral. Is it above yourself? Or are you the determiner?

n.n said...

Revenant:

First, to your ego, from which you derive meaning. Second, to mortal gods who will exploit and redistribute the wealth of others.

jr565 said...

Revenanat wrote:
There is no basis for your morality other than your personal opinion about what is right.

That makes two of us. :)

So then Ted Bundy was moral when killing all his victims correct?

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

Cachoro Quente:

Our morality is corrupted by circumstance and ego.

jr565 said...

Heres Ted Bundys morality:
Then I learned that all moral judgments are "value judgments," that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either "right" or "wrong." I even read somewhere that the Chief Justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments. Believe it or not, I figured out for myself - what apparently the Chief Justice couldn't figure out for himself"”that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational. Nor is there any "reason" to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring "” the strength of character "” to throw off its shackles. ... 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.
Now other people may come to a different conclusion as to what is right (like say mass murdering people and living to your 80's) but this is Revenants exact logic in a nutshell.

McTriumph said...

I'm not an atheist, but I can relate to this woman. I once totaled out my vintage BMW, I loved that car, it now sits in a junk yard rotting, it's returning to the system, she should get over it like I did.

jr565 said...

If htere is no moral universe with a morality beyond you, then morality is simply value judgements and there is no right or wrong on anything.
As Ted Bundy so aptly stated:
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?
Why indeed? Ted came to the concluson htat there is no objective morality therefore he makes his morality. Why is he wrong?

CachorroQuente said...

"The question is on what basis are YOU viewing something as moral. Is it above yourself? Or are you the determiner? "

There is no "moral universe," there is no supernatural source for objective morality. If you want there to be an objective morality, you need to come up with a natural explanation.


Related, but not the same: hallucination is not a source of knowledge.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote;
100 billion have either followed orders or done what they think is right. So the answer to your question is simple: I don't give a rat's ass if *you* think it is fine and dandy for a serial killer to murder innocent people, I say it isn't. :)

Adn who are you? God? Your morality should be treated objectively simpy because you say so? (Who is the tyrant again) Or are you merely stating a value judgement? IF so, WHO CARES WHAT YOU THINK? You are simply one of a billion other people lving in the world no more no less. That same rule applies to everyone else too by the way.

jr565 said...

Cachoro wrote:
There is no "moral universe," there is no supernatural source for objective morality. If you want there to be an objective morality, you need to come up with a natural explanation.

So then, please explain why Ted Bundy or any other serial killer or mass murderer, is someone "wrong" for doing what they're doing? Other than, as Ted Bundy would argue, your unsupportable value judgements. Because taht's all they would be, woudln't they?

jr565 said...

Or to put it another way, are things objectively wrong or right at all?

MnMark said...

I understand why atheists don't believe in the traditional monotheistic religions. They developed in a very different time and culture and many modern people don't feel the religions are believable.

Fortunately you are not required to take the existence of life beyond the physical world on faith. There are well-known, ancient practices for learning to expand the boundaries of your attention so that you can begin to perceive them yourself. You won't have to take anyone's word for it...you can actually experience it yourself and *know* that there is existence beyond the death of the body.

I would start with the books by Robert Monroe and the ones by Itzhak Bentov. Both very scientific men - one a radio engineer and executive, the other a scientist and inventor - who explored the non-physical world using well-developed methods that are open to anyone with patience.

That's the direction where comfort lies waiting for the people in the article.

mccullough said...

jr565,

Enough people agreed that Ted Bundy's murders were wrong, so he was tried and executed for them. Some religions believe that capital punishment is immoral. Others don't.

You are never going to get consensus on anything, least of all between people's contradictory devout beliefs on what objective morality requires.

Enough people on the planet believe slavery is wrong nowadays. That's enough for most people.

rsb said...

A bad day for an atheist is better than all the days of the fool.
If there was a god she would like atheists the best because they are using their brains.

Revenant said...

First, to your ego, from which you derive meaning. Second, to mortal gods who will exploit and redistribute the wealth of others.

You must be new here, because that second part makes you sound *really* foolish to people familiar with my ideology. :)

As to the first part, you said "God, gods, or mortals pretending to godhood". You'll need to do more than a brief mumble about me "deriving meaning from my ego" if you want to explain how I make that list.

CachorroQuente said...

"Or to put it another way, are things objectively wrong or right at all? "

That's a question for you, not for me.

You are arguing that because you need an objective morality to keep you from turning into Ted Bundy and that you can't imagine an objective morality without some supernatural source that there therefore must be a supernatural source. You are begging the question.

Revenant said...

So then Ted Bundy was moral when killing all his victims correct?

Asked and answered -- not that you understood the answer. :)

Revenant said...

are things objectively wrong or right at all?

Spoken like a man who has never had to take a long car ride with an Ayn Rand enthusiast.

jr565 said...

mcullough wrote:
Enough people on the planet believe slavery is wrong nowadays. That's enough for most people.

And enough people also thought that slavery was right before it was abolished.If we didn't abolish slavery on objective grounds then we're simply discussing the imposition of the morality of enough people on fewer people. Ithought we can't legislate morality?
ALso, it doesnt have to be the most people it can simply be the "Strongest People" no? If Stalin is strong enough to mass murder the most people in the history of the world and live to the 80's then he was right correct?

Matt said...

jr565

You lost the debate a couple of hours ago. Why keep posting? To provide humor perhaps?

Revenant said...

WHO CARES WHAT YOU THINK?

You're spending an awful lot energy on repetitive questions about my views of right and wrong for a guy who doesn't care what I think is right and wrong. :)

mccullough said...

jr565,

According to Stalin, he was right. According to Mao, he was right. According to Hitler, he was right. According to Osama, he was right. According to Lincoln, he was right.

Allah requires this, Jesus requires that, Vishnu, etc.

Of course it's about consensus. The majority of people think slavery is wrong, regardless of their source of that belief. The majority of people think the Holocause was wrong, regardless of the source of that belief.

Most people have innate concepts of right and wrong, but most don't agree on what is right or wrong. Believing in a version of God doesn't change that. Claiming knowledge of an objective version of right and wrong doesn't change that.

As a matter of U.S. history, slavery was abolished because the United States was much stronger than the confederate states. They won the war. People on both sides thought God was on their side. The people who lost still thought God was on their side.



jr565 said...

Cachoore quente wrote:
You are arguing that because you need an objective morality to keep you from turning into Ted Bundy


No I wasn't arguing that at all. Im saying theres no basis for your morality other than you saying its right or wrong. THat doesn't mean that you will necessarily become Ted Bundy or that the only thing preventing me from becoming Ted Bundy is my belief in objective morality. Where are you coming up with that? I used Ted Bundy as but one example of someone who didn't believe in objective morality.
How are we to judge the Ted Bundy's of the world. With objectie morality or subjective morality?
and that you can't imagine an objective morality without some supernatural source that there therefore must be a supernatural source. You are begging the question. I'm saying either there is objective morality or there isn't If there isn't then how are we judging the rightness or wrongness of anyone since to do so requires objective morality. It requires a morality larger than that we construct in our own minds. And you'll note most appeals to justice or innustice or how we should make a better world or why the world isn't better assume that objective morality. If there is no moral universe then there is no objective morality. All we are talking about are value judgements that cant' be proven true or untrue. Opinons are like assholes as they say, everyones got one.

jr565 said...

Matt wrote:
You lost the debate a couple of hours ago. Why keep posting? To provide humor perhaps?

I think you personally should respond to waht Ted Bundy himself had to say about why he was justified in killing people, since you seem to have an absolute belief that kiling is somehow wrong. And I note you never actually answered the points.

Matt said...

mccullough @
1/16/13, 6:14 PM

Good comment. To the point and correct.

CachorroQuente said...

"And enough people also thought that slavery was right before it was abolished.If we didn't abolish slavery on objective grounds then we're simply discussing the imposition of the morality of enough people on fewer people. "

Round and round we go. If there were some immutable objective moral imperative against slavery, why couldn't anybody figure that out for the first 1850 years of Christianity, as Revenant pointed out above.

If you want to prove the existence of some supernatural source for objective morality, you must first prove that there is such a thing as objective morality. Your argument that there must be, else you would turn into Ted Bundy, doesn't work as an argument, though it might explain why our prisons are full of religious believers.

Matt said...

jr565

What mccullough said @ 1/16/13, 6:14 PM was spot on. That's my answer.

jr565 said...

Mccullough wrote:
Most people consider rape self-evidently bad without having to appeal to God or Plato or Kant.

The people who commit rape do not do so after a moral dialogue in which they contemplate the origins and nature of right and wrong.

I'm asking you do you think rape is objectively wrong, or only wrong because a concensus of people think its wrong? Don't a consensus of peope think rape is wrong becuse it is objectively wrong?

Revenant said...

How are we to judge the Ted Bundy's of the world. With objectie morality or subjective morality?

With a jury of twelve and a copy of the criminal code of Florida, as it turned out. :)

Revenant said...

I'm asking you do you think rape is objectively wrong

The ironic thing is that his answer only actually matters if it isn't.

If it is objectively wrong, as people like Catholic priests and Ayn Randian atheists would have it, then it doesn't matter if he disagrees. It only matters if you need to gather a consensus on the subject.

mccullough said...

Jr 565,

I think rape is wrong. Whether this can be explained by evolutionary psychology, my genetic makeup, my in utero stage and my upbringing, education and life experience or whether I have some innate objective sense of right and wrong hard wired into me from the Greek Gods, Yahweh, Allah, Vishnu, etc. I have no idea and it doesn't interest me.

All I can say is that it seems like enough people in the United States in the early 21st century also believe rape is wrong. So we have a strongly shared strong prohibition against rape, though not everyone in the tribe is either hard wired or socially conditioned or chooses to not rape. Why this is, I'm not sure. Maybe they are sinners or evil or genetic mutations or crack babies or had bad upbringings.

If you believe in objective morality or have divine knowledge of such things like the Prophet Mohammed, good for you. To me, it is unknowable.

Crunchy Frog said...

mccullough @
1/16/13, 6:14 PM

Good comment. To the point and correct.


Postmodernist bullshit. Everything is relative. There is no truth, only consensus.

From where comes the consensus? Why is there a general rule against rape, murder, theft, robbery? Why is universal among cultures which have no contact with each other?

It is hardwired into us.

Romans 2:12-16 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

jr565 said...

Matt you say you agree with mcullough but then you earlier wrote this;
Yes, there is a problem with killing people.
It sounds like you are appealing to objective morality and not subjective morality. Otherwise there really isnt' a problem with people killing other people. You merely have an opinion that its wrong. But what about the people who don't share that opinion? Why is your opinion more or less valid than theirs?

Are you saying that if there was no God then you would run around and kill people? I don't know. It seems like YOU"RE saying that if there was a consensus of people saying it was ok to run around and kill people that that is what they would be doing. Again, your assumption is that people are behaving as if there is an absolute morality in place governing their actions where killing is objectively wrong and not just a consensus of a majority of peoples opionons. Quick, was the killing of 6 million jews objectively wrong,or just wrong because a consensus of people say as much. So, if 51% of people suddenly say Hitler was right all along then it was ok to kill the Jews?

Are you saying that you stick to moral principles ONLY because of your belief in god or religion?
I never said that atheists can't have norals. They do. I'm saying you can't have objective morality without a moral universe. Meaning, you can never say that what the nazis did was objectively wrong, only that it was wrong in your opinion and a value judgement.
Why is your value judgement any more valid morally than anyone else's value judgement.

Seems to me to be a pretty screwed up way to approach things. The reason atheists don't kill their neighbors is because life is precious and taking a life is wrong for many reasons - not least because other people would suffer if that person was gone. It's common sense. Again, with the appeal to objective morality. Clearly then you don't agree with mccullough. Is life precious? Well I think it is but I'm arguing that there is an objective morality.
Prove it to me. Ultimately its going to be either an objective or subjective argument. If its subjective, how precious is it really. YOu can make your pros and cons list as to why life is pricoius and then I can make my pros and cons list as to why it isnt precious? Who's right? Neither! In fact you are suggesting that we should view it objectively as an absolute position as that is the only way your morality has any validity. Only you just got done tellilng me there can be no objective morality. So then why make the appeal to it?
I have an inaliable right to liberty becuase of objective morality not because of subjective morality. Which is why its positied that I'm endowed by a creator with those rights.

If there is no creator then those rights are not inaliable since they are based upon a morality based on consensus.

mccullough said...

Crunchy frog,

Who said everything is relative? I said you can't know. If you know the Christian God exists and Osama knows Allah exists, how do we tell which of you is right? How do we know whether or not you are both wrong?

Perhaps one of you is in direct contact with the one and true God. How am I supposed to know of that is true or delusional?

Thankfully, most of us can agree slavery is wrong and rape is wrong.

Paddy O said...

“We shouldn’t take an atheist more serious than Christ who died for them.”

~Jurgen Moltmann

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote
With a jury of twelve and a copy of the criminal code of Florida, as it turned out. :)

And of those 12 jurors are their arguments going to be absolte or subjective? ASre they going to argue that what he did was objectively wrong (which is hte only reason to punish him by the way) or who is to say whether what he did is wrong. Everyone makes their own morality type arguments.

Mitch H. said...

Thou art more than the Gods who number the days of our temporal breath;
Let these give labour and slumber; but thou, Proserpina, death.


I was just reading that poem. I prefer "Garden of Prosperine" to the Hymn, though. If only because it's so much more fatalistic and open-hearted than "Hymn to Prosperine". Swinburne in a proselytizing mood was always less interesting than his declamatory mode.

After all, I've never met a Christian who believes in Zeus.

You haven't asked in the right way. They either believe in Zeus as a historical-mythic-allegorical construct, or they believe, in the old traditional manner, that Zeus is a demon making mock of the faithful, like Ba'al or Babylon the Great.

I'm watching this historical swashbuckler, Otogi Zoshi, with a series of Tokyo University lectures by their pompous blowhard of a historical consultant, and he made the strangest claim: that Japanese of the Heian era didn't have death ritual, and merely discarded the bodies of their loved ones just anywhere - that they'd have left them rotting in the streets of their cities if the civic ordinances didn't forbid such disposal within city limits. I just can't fathom how that could possibly be true. The Heian Era has such a reputation for high culture, that I can't imagine them behaving in such a barbaric manner, worse than New Guinean cannibals in a sense.

Metaphor abuse. That's not what the word "god" means in a theological context. :)

I've found that insistent claim on terms definition is a sort of passive-aggressiveness. One to which I'm particularly addicted, sad to say.

Ha! Not only will God send you to Hell for being an atheist, He'll send you to Hell if your great-great-grandfather was an atheist:

Speaking of passive-aggressive theological disputation, I'm not a Christian, but I'm pretty sure that this unto the seventh generation business is part of the old dispensation which was superseded by the post-Crucifixion covenant.

What of all the accounts of near death experiences?

And now to argue for the other team, none of those are of any testimonial value to a materialist. Every single one of them can be dismissed as a melange of observer bias and neurological collapse & reintegration. Although I do strongly recommend Connie Willis' Passage as a great meditation on the subject.

Paddy O said...

"Indeed, if the answer was obvious you would think Christians wouldn't have gotten it wrong for the first 1850 years of their faith."

They didn't. A lot of people who were Christian did. But Christians throughout history fought against slavery and the modern antislavery movement was very much initiated by Christians. Why didn't the slave system of ancient Rome and Greece perpetuated into the Middle Ages?

At every point colonial powers sought to enslave other peoples, there were dedicated Christians saying it was wrong.

It's just that, like with all philosophies, there are true believers and there are those who are using it for other goals.

Mitch H. said...

There is no reason a war monger trying to take over the world and enslave all the lesser races is somehow "evil" since we'd first have to assume that warmongering is objectively wrong, enslavement is objectively wrong and that we shouldn't define races as lesser. But, you can't.

When you reduce God, the Almighty to a necessary base for moral axioms, I can't help but think you've put the cart before the horse. Man doesn't need God to be moral, if he needs him at all, it's for something more important than mere ethics. Reason and the categorical imperative will suffice for ethics and morality, I rather think.

But, I think that Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, and Epictetus, to name just 3 writers speak to the human condition without resorting to a deistic framework. When I heard the word nothing, I was confused.

I think Jim here wins the thread, but I've got all this written and might as well finish off the comment, yes?

But the great sin is nonbelief. So, what sort of God is it that would condemn someone to an eternity in Hell for the sin of having been created insufficiently gullible by that same God?

I'm pretty sure the great sin isn't nonbelief, but rather despair. Nonbelief being a subset of despair, I suppose. But the doctrine of grace holds that damnation is not a positive event - what God does to you if you're bad - but rather an existential problem - you *are* damned, and can only be saved if you accept grace. God, being omniscient, knows what you'll chose to do, but he doesn't make you accept or reject his grace, freely offered. But it still all hangs on whether the old bargainer exists to begin with, doesn't it? A contract must have two parties, and you can't make covenant with the void, dress it in whatever wishful raiment you might conceive.

Amusingly enough, the same logic Anton Chigurh uses for killing people in "No Country for Old Men".

[phwwwt!] Flag on the play! Chigurh doesn't use that logic in the name of God, but rather fate or random chance. He didn't operate in a theistic construct, just, raw, naked existential void. Just watched that movie last weekend. Unsettling.

It could be worse. I could be a "brony".

And what's up with that? I watched the whole first season of that show, and didn't get more than a half-dozen chuckles, and hours & hours of pure cringe. I don't get it.

"We are a fallen creation. God has bound Himself to respect the capacity for free will He created within us. He won't force you to accept His salvation or remove your capacity to make that choice for yourself."
That's nonsense. Quite literally, nonsense. Simple words put together in a meaningless way.


Wow, is it because you are that unread, or are you just refusing to understand a perfectly cogent and orthodox statement of free grace doctrine on some peculiar, idiosyncratic grounds which you haven't bothered to explain here?

And all the proponents of slavery were religious people, too.

OK, I'm thinking that you're just hate-blinded. I'm friends with some people like that, atheism thinly stretched over essential misanthropy. It's no way to go through life, son.

America was, then even more than now, an overwhelmingly Christian nation. The debate over slavery was largely between those who claimed God required the abolition of slavery and those who claimed slavery was divinely sanctioned.

Simplistic horseshit, pure and simple. There were atheists, agnostics, and true believers on both sides of the debate, and the Second Great Awakening had largely subsided by the late Fifties. American religious belief goes in waves, especially during the Frontier surges, and the period afterwards. Americans can be highly religious, but their social instability tends to leave them substantially unchurched, especially after a period of social chaos.

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