March 14, 2014

Surprisingly few people around the world think belief in God is essential to morality.

"Worldwide, Many See Belief in God as Essential to Morality."

208 comments:

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traditionalguy said...

Chosing unbelief in God doesn't then make one an immoral person. But those folks' children and the grandchildren must seek out their own moralities looking for a truth to hold onto.

And God laughs.

ganderson said...

People can be good without God. Societies can't.

Mr. Colby said...

Without a belief in something beyond the material, the whole idea of morality is a nullity.

Unknown said...

how is this surprising.

George said...

I question both headlines. Looking at the numbers it looks to me like about a 50-50 split.

China No, India + Indonesia Yes

USA + Canada about 50-50

Europe No but Africa Yes

Shouting Thomas said...

Classic misunderstanding of the purpose of religious tradition.

mccullough said...

Is replacing morality based upon different people's different beliefs based on different deities/religions with some sort of human rights consensus even possible? Perhaps within a single country or group of countries (like Western Europe) it might work out well enough.

The U.S. has been overwhelmingly made up of Christians for its existence and there isn't that much difference between the different denominations moral beliefs. But there is a difference. Abortion is still a very hot point of contention among a lot of Americans. Those who are most against it believe most strongly that it is completely immoral.

But issues like homosexuality and gay marriage don't seem to have as much traction. They are rapidly becoming like fornication, where most people, even people who are pretty religious, don't think it's immoral, or at least not immoral enough to make a cause out of it.

The problem with secular humanism is it doesn't know how to deal with evil. If secular humanism became strongly prevalent in the U.S., the country would be obliterated within a generation by radical Islam. Western Europe is starting to go that way. Western Europe doesn't know how to deal with people whose core beliefs are so radically different from their own. It can't even understand the gun culture of the U.S.

Revenant said...

The results for Japan and China are a bit strange. None of the major religions there HAVE a singular "God". I wonder if they were asked if religion is necessary for morality, instead?

Revenant said...

The problem with secular humanism is it doesn't know how to deal with evil. If secular humanism became strongly prevalent in the U.S., the country would be obliterated within a generation by radical Islam.

"You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles."

Yeah, that'll have Al Qaeda quakin' in their boots...

Lucien said...

Whether it's covering up for child-raping priests, and then seeking the protection of bankruptcy courts when you're caught doing it, or endorsing folks who walk into crowded markets to detonate suicide vests, organized religion proves that it can achieve heights of depravity and immorality.

Meanwhile, being thoughtful and considerate about your fellow humans is something anyone can do without needing any rules about when not to eat pig meat, or how to hire someone to turn on your lights on Saturday, etc.

Scott M said...

organized religion proves that it can achieve heights of depravity and immorality

But that's just one-half of a circular arguments. The non-religious have also proved that they can achieve the heights of depravity and immorality at industrial levels.

Likewise, there are plenty of religious folk that are both thoughtful and considerate of their fellow humans.

mccullough said...

Lucien,

That's all true. But the communists killed an awful lot of people in the 20th Century.

Also, what do you do with people that want to kill you based on their beliefs?

Teaching people to be thoughtful and considerate is nice. Teaching them how to defend themselves and kill other people is more effective. Secular humanism ignores evil and doesn't know how to confront it. Why do you think the secular humanists are so afraid to stand up to radical Islam but not to Christians?

Rusty said...

If you look at the ten commandments as just a historical document. It is the god of the jews, an argumentative, nomadic people who are being introduced to a new culture among new people.
They are rules on how to behave ,in a settled civilized society.
If you follow these ten rules, no matter where you go, no one can find fault with your behavior.

CommonHandle said...

"The results for Japan and China are a bit strange. None of the major religions there HAVE a singular "God". I wonder if they were asked if religion is necessary for morality, instead?"

It's a good question since Buddhism and Shinto don't appear to have a monotheistic "god" concept that western religions do. However, I don't think that the idea is entirely foreign to them, and I would guess that respondents could make an inference to their own spiritual concepts.

The question, by my lights, simply asks whether or not morality is something that exists apart from ourselves. I think that question is pretty well conveyed when embodying those values in the form of god.

The Crack Emcee said...

Considering all the slavers believed in God, I know that belief and morality have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

As a matter of fact, based on the evidence, it's really the road to Hell,...

n.n said...

It's rainbows and unicorns until might makes right. If nothing else, God is a symbol for the limit of moral behavior. He is something that we strive for but will never achieve. It is far better to defer dignity to a divine God than to a mortal (i.e. human, fallible) god.

mccullough said...

Crack,

The abolitionists believed in God as well. So it's a wash.

William said...

Voltaire didn't like to discuss atheism in the presence of the servants. He felt that they needed God to behave morally, unlike enlightened people such as himself......I think most people most of the time behave in such a way as to maximize their self interest, and nearly everyone can make a rational argument how their self interest represents the will of God and/or the best interests of the community......People with religious convictions sometimes act with less selfishness than those without, but they can also act with more hypocrisy, so it's a wash.....I really hope that there's a Last Judgement. I would like not only to know my grade, but that of others. Also I hope there's some kind of fair appeals process on that day.

AReasonableMan said...

Only religious bigots believe that atheists cannot be moral people.

Jim S. said...

I think they're asking the wrong question. They're asking whether one has to believe in God in order to recognize moral truths. The answer to that seems obvious to me: no. Our recognition that something is moral or immoral is immediate or direct, it's not a conclusion drawn from some inference. Of course, there is an enormous gray area where the morality of certain acts is not obvious, but that does not take away from the areas where it is.

The interesting question to my mind is whether our common recognition of moral truths is coherent if God does not exist. The moral argument for God is that any claim that something is morally right or wrong -- actually wrong, objectively wrong -- could only be true given a metaphysical worldview like theism or Platonism. It's not as if the individual has to personally believe in God in order to recognize moral truths, it's the claim that there is an inconsistency between recognizing moral truths and not believing in God.

n.n said...

The worst violations of human rights were committed by atheists of the left-wing variety in the 20th century. They murdered and enslaved an unprecedented number of people in their egoistic drive to assert their authority. In their "rational" pursuit to dominate men and women, they instituted population control protocols (e.g. abortion), which represents an unprecedented violation of human rights. Only Muslims have matched the narcissistic dysfunction of atheists, and then only over a much longer period.

The Crack Emcee:

You reject cults. That is cooperatives or philosophies (e.g. atheism) without a moral foundation. You also have a prejudice against women and religions. Then recently, you demonstrated an overt and progressive prejudice for all people of a certain skin color. Even demanding generational redistributive change (i.e. involuntary exploitation).

You have dreams of a slaver, right?

The facts do not support your arguments. You have mischaracterized the causes and actors and reached a prejudiced conclusion.

Shouting Thomas said...

Only religious bigots believe that atheists cannot be moral people.

I don't know anybody who holds that belief, nor was that belief expressed by a single commenter here.

The emptiness and stupidity that we've come to expect from you, however, is completely encapsulated in your resort to the "bigotry" argument.

You are a complete fool.

Scott M said...

Only religious bigots believe that atheists cannot be moral people.

Only self-righteous atheistic assholes think all religious people are bigots.

n.n said...

Jim S.:

Either way, morality is an article of faith. Whether we attribute its derivation to God or to our own indeterminate consciousness, the outcome is the same. What's significant is that the criteria for moral development is standard and reproducible. Whether the philosopher is God or human is only consequential in a post-mortem.

Shouting Thomas said...

The poll question, as I said in my initial comment, completely trivializes and misinterprets the purpose of religious education, indoctrination and tradition.

I would have to write a really long, boring essay to fully explain this, so I'll substitute a little personal story instead.

When my father died, I finally understood clearly the Christian belief (well, only Catholics seem to persist in this belief) that "God is the father."

damikesc said...

Whether it's covering up for child-raping priests, and then seeking the protection of bankruptcy courts when you're caught doing it, or endorsing folks who walk into crowded markets to detonate suicide vests, organized religion proves that it can achieve heights of depravity and immorality.

...as opposed to government, which simply sends child molesters to DIFFERENT schools when the teacher is found to have molested kids (firing them seems to not be common and covering it up is rampant). Governments have set populations against small groups for many years.

But, yeah, it's RELIGION that is the problem.

Considering all the slavers believed in God, I know that belief and morality have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

As a matter of fact, based on the evidence, it's really the road to Hell,...


Belief in God is the only reason slavery is now illegal.

Only religious bigots believe that atheists cannot be moral people.

FLAY THAT STRAWMAN!

DEATH TO THE STRAWMAN!!!

Jim S. said...

I know atheists who think their atheism requires them to foreswear the objectivity of morality. It's not as if they are immoral in their personal lives, they just think morality is an illusion. If put to it, I very much doubt they could commit a deeply immoral act, since they feel the draw of morality just as much as anyone else. They're trying to not believe that evil acts are really evil, but they can't quite rid themselves of it.

This reminds me of a book by Peter Haas, Morality after Auschwitz: The Radical Challenge of the Nazi Ethic. Haas points out that the Nazi ethic of killing Jews was internally consistent, and as such, cannot be criticized from within. The only way to object to the Nazi ethic is by adopting a position that transcends individual cultures and societies, and arguing from moral claims that apply to all, regardless of whether anyone accepts it or not.

AReasonableMan said...

Scott M said...
Only self-righteous atheistic assholes think all religious people are bigots.


But I didn't say this, many religious people do in fact recognize that atheists are moral people. Only a subset of religious people, religious bigots, do not believe this.

Jim S. said...

n.n.:

Well, that depends on what you mean by faith. I think my belief in moral truths is on a level with my belief in a physical world and that other people exist. I don't derive these beliefs from others via inference, I just believe them -- in fact I know them, as does everyone else. If you want to call that faith, have at it, but I think that would invite unfair comparisons. And I don't see why morality wouldn't be in a similar position.

CommonHandle said...

@Shouting Thomas: The poll question was

"Q26 Which one of these comes closest to your opinion? Number
1 – It is not necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and
have good values OR Number 2 – It is necessary to believe in
God in order to be moral and have good values"


In what way is this asking about religion or tradition? Is a personal belief in god inseparable from religious, traditional or cultural background?

Revenant said...

If you follow these ten rules, no matter where you go, no one can find fault with your behavior.

There are rather a LOT of places on Earth -- especially back then -- where refusing to venerate other gods above the Yahweh would result in people finding quite a lot of fault in your behavior.

n.n said...

Religion is a moral philosophy. It is distinguishable from faith by the character of its philosopher. Christianity is a religion with a divine philosopher. Its counterpart is secular with mortal philosophers.

The worst violations of human rights are committed by mortal gods in their pursuit of capital and control. This is why left-wing regimes are always domineering. This is why organized religions have been predisposed to the same fate.

Religion (i.e. moral philosophy) is an individual enterprise reflective of individual dignity (i.e. consciousness or freewill).

Ralph Hyatt said...

People who don't believe in God can act in a moral manner, but I don't understand why they think they should be congratulated on it.

Since morals is just the term we use to label our responses to stimuli that have been created either through evolution or culture.

You might as well congratulate yourself for not pooping on the sidewalk.

I know I praised my dog for pooping outside when she was a puppy. Don't need to do it any longer.

Revenant said...

The worst violations of human rights were committed by atheists of the left-wing variety in the 20th century.

Often atheist, sometimes Christian or pagan, usually white or Asian, always male.

The moral of this story is that society should be led by black Jewish women.

n.n said...

Jim S.:

Faith as in an article of faith. For example, individual dignity and intrinsic value are articles of faith which underlie civilized conceptions of morality. Alternatively, science is also faith-based, but restricted to a limited frame of reference, which we then classify as objective.

n.n said...

Revenant:

Not at all. The interesting aspect is its characterization, specifically of causes and effects. A prejudice is not worth discussing.

Gahrie said...

The moral of this story is that society should be led by black Jewish women.

Whoopi probably wouldn't mind....

Revenant said...

People who don't believe in God can act in a moral manner, but I don't understand why they think they should be congratulated on it.

Well, Christians are told that if they act in a moral manner they'll receive infinite bliss, and if they act in an immoral manner they'll receive infinite suffering. Atheists are told that if we act in a moral manner, we die and rot in the ground. If we act in an evil manner, we die and rot in the ground. There is no reward for goodness or punishment for evil beyond what you receive in live.

Say an atheist finds a sack full of bank money lying on the ground in the middle of a forest. He has to decide whether to steal it or return it. Metaphorically speaking, a Christian finds that same bag of money lying on the ground with a bunch of security cameras on it and a couple of cops watching it. Morality doesn't even enter in to the calculation, really, because only a complete moron would grab a bag of money under those circumstances.

cubanbob said...

AReasonableMan said...
Only religious bigots believe that atheists cannot be moral people.

3/14/14, 11:45 AM"

Strawman argument. No one is disputing that atheist are incapable of being moral people. However religion is the base of morality and without the external frame of reference-God there is no basis to morality or innate legal rights. Atheists can expect a moral frame work to exist as long as the world is primarily based on religion even if its only practiced nominally by most. Imagine a world where is atheism is the norm, what would be the foundation for morality and hence for the law?

Colby and Jim S said it better in their comments.

Crack would atheism have prevented slavery? Would a world run by atheists even have a moral basis to oppose slavery?

Revenant said...

The interesting aspect is its characterization, specifically of causes and effects. A prejudice is not worth discussing.

And yet you're discussing it.

You infer that atheism is a causal factor based purely on correlation and your own prejudices towards it. Why is it less valid to claim that there is something inherent in men that makes them dangerous leaders? Why is it invalid to observe that Judaism's last atrocity was around 2500 years ago and conclude that that religion is preferable to Christianity or Islam?

Jim S. said...

n.n.:

I almost agree with you, although I am wary of calling science "faith-based" just because faith is so often equated with blind faith.

I might disagree when you say we classify science as objective (which I agree with), if you mean to imply by this that ethics are not. I don't see why we can't similarly classify morality as objective. The fact that the physical world exists independently of whether anyone recognizes it or not is an "article of faith" in your terms. But similarly, the fact that the moral realm exists independently of whether anyone recognizes it or not is also an article of faith. If this doesn't prevent science from being objective, why does it prevent morality from being objective? By "objective" I obviously do not mean "empirical", I mean it is true regardless of whether anyone believes it or not. As I wrote in one of my comments, the Nazi ethic can only be criticized from a transcendent standpoint, by applying moral claims to it that apply to all cultures and all societies regardless of whether anyone recognizes them.

Civilis said...

Religion, be it divinely inspired or merely a human-generated memetic system that believes to be divinely inspired, serves as a self-check on individual temptation.

It's useful to have an outside moral authority to check on whether one's actions and values actually match, especially when one's actions are driven by tightly wound emotions. One can self-justify any number of actions that an outside observer or code of laws would assume are immoral.

It's something of a paradox, unless you assume religion provides a divinely-inspired morality. You have to trust someone else to judge your moral code when confronted with a difficult situation, but who can you trust to check your morality? Religion, even if just a human-produced memetic system, at least allows you to fall back on years of tradition and thought that are relatively immune to the current public whims.

Levi Starks said...

And yet those who believe in a morality not based in religion continue to benefit from a sense of morality that is for the most part based in religion.
Would you rather have your nursing home picked out by children who have a sense of morality biased on Christianity, or children who believe they are the author of their own morality?

Monkeyboy said...

Ace of Spades had an intereting comment a while back where an atheist said that while they didn't beleive in Christianity,they liked having Christians around because it wasn't atheists going to the Phillipines to assist in surgery.

The Crack Emcee said...

mccullough said...
Crack,

The abolitionists believed in God as well. So it's a wash.


Only to relativists - to blacks, the one who held the whip was the bad guy.

n.n said...

Jim S.:

Science pertains to the physical realm, as opposed to human consciousness. It is designed as a systematic mechanism to observe and characterize processes and phenomenon which are independent and "universally" (i.e. within a specified frame) coherent. It studies the natural order.

There are two known orders: natural and conscious. The former is classified as objective and the latter as subjective. Morality or at least its codification is a product of the latter. There is, of course, a spectrum. We classify logic as "objective", while emotion as "subjective".

The Crack Emcee said...

The Crack Emcee:

You also have a prejudice against women,…

I'm no longer answering anyone who mischaracterizes my views for me, thanks.

Civilis said...

Say an atheist finds a sack full of bank money lying on the ground in the middle of a forest. He has to decide whether to steal it or return it. Metaphorically speaking, a Christian finds that same bag of money lying on the ground with a bunch of security cameras on it and a couple of cops watching it. Morality doesn't even enter in to the calculation, really, because only a complete moron would grab a bag of money under those circumstances.

On the other hand, the atheist has only himself to go on as to what the right thing to do with the money is, and has a built-in bias. The believer, depending on belief, may have thousands of years of precedents and debates as to what the correct thing to do is, as well as someone trained (theoretically) to think on morality and be immune from the pressures of transient whims.

The priest/minister/imam/rabbi, if devout, isn't going to suggest what to do based on his own benefit (although, in practice, we know that not all clergy are immune from temptation). Being Catholic, and knowing that at least the local priest is an honest, devout and genuinely kind man, I would trust him based on Catholic law to keep what I tell him private and suggest what he would honestly believe is the right thing to do.

The Crack Emcee said...

damikesc,

Belief in God is the only reason slavery is now illegal.


Bullshit - slavery is over because blacks were going to be free.

The Crack Emcee said...

Revenant,

The moral of this story is that society should be led by black Jewish women.


I knew you'd come around,...

Scott M said...

ARM - But I didn't say this, many religious people do in fact recognize that atheists are moral people. Only a subset of religious people, religious bigots, do not believe this.

I didn't say you did. Some atheists do in fact recognize that religious people are moral people. Only a subset of atheists, self-righteous atheistic assholes, do not believe this.

Which means this is a wash, begging the question of why you brought it up in the first place.

Old RPM Daddy said...

@Revenant: "Well, Christians are told that if they act in a moral manner they'll receive infinite bliss, and if they act in an immoral manner they'll receive infinite suffering."

No, they're not.

Jim S. said...

n.n.:

But doesn't science begin from the standpoint of consciousness? That is, doesn't it presuppose that our experience of the physical world is veridical, and that our experience of other people -- other scientists engaged in similar experiments to verify or falsify one's own -- can be trusted? I think this is what Thomas Nagel is critiquing when he argued that we can't reduce everything to the third-person perspective, "the view from nowhere".

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

Scott M said...

Which means this is a wash, begging the question of why you brought it up in the first place.


Because religious prejudice against atheists is surprisingly prevalent. It would be impossible for an atheist to become president in the current intolerant environment. In some surveys I have seen people would vote for a Muslim before they would vote for an atheist.

One effect of this prejudice is that it creates immense hypocrisy among our ruling class. Who honestly believes Reagan or Bush I were god-fearing christians?

n.n said...

Jim S.:

Science, yes, but not the processes and phenomenon of the natural order. You may consider science to be a subjective effort to estimate an objective order. This effort attempts to minimize axiomatic presuppositions (e.g. articles of faith) and inference (e.g. created knowledge) in order to optimally characterize its subject.

pduggie said...

i see belief in god as essential to *warranted* belief in morality.

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

@Revenant: "Well, Christians are told that if they act in a moral manner they'll receive infinite bliss, and if they act in an immoral manner they'll receive infinite suffering."

No, they're not.

How would you describe an afterlife in heaven or hell if not "infinite bliss" and "infinite suffering"?

Is there an *end* to the bliss in heaven? A point where God says "well, that's enough bliss for now, time for you to go back to Earth"? :)

The Crack Emcee said...

cubanbob,

Crack would atheism have prevented slavery? Would a world run by atheists even have a moral basis to oppose slavery?


Of course.

n.n said...

Mischaracterization is an interesting and common practice. Perhaps the problem is inference, or extrapolating from the sins of individuals to generally condemn people of a certain class or feature, and their descendents. Perhaps it's a product of a simplistic rejection of something which has been improperly, unfairly, or incompletely characterized.

traditionalguy said...

Morality appeals to people who want to live in a safe place.

The new Noah movie is on point. That incident of Judgment ended by enacted the moralty of a death penalty to restrain evil men.

Modern Prison Gangs develop, teach and enforce their own morality so that some day they can walk out of the hell on earth prisons like they walked into it...alive and in one piece.

Crack needs to acknowledge the Christianity of the opponents of slavery, such as William Wilberforce and his song writer friend John Newton whose song is performed ten million times annually. Amazing Grace is a bold plea for forgiveness by an african slave trader.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Can a committed materialist, who believes in an evolutionary theory that is governed by nothing but random chance, come up with a rational explanation for the existence of universal human dignity?

The most honest explanation I have come across is that "human dignity" is a "noble lie", but a lie that the masses must be encouraged to believe so that civil society is possible.

Philosophically speaking, however, there is no such thing as "human dignity". But there is a caveat: this truth must be kept secret by the cognoscenti.

Civilis said...

One effect of this prejudice is that it creates immense hypocrisy among our ruling class. Who honestly believes Reagan or Bush I were god-fearing christians?

I do. Do you have anything specifically that suggests that they weren't? I'd say that Clinton, though he may be very vulnerable to temptation, is probably a God-fearing Christian as well. About the only major Presidential / Vice-presidential figure (including candidates for office) of the past 20 years that I would bet money that wasn't Christian was Joe Lieberman.

Politicians, especially those on a national level, tend to have a get-along-with-everyone face they put on for the public. A generic Christian can probably put on this face when dealing with people in a religious setting, even non-Christians, whereas most atheists that make a point of atheism tend to come across as hostile to all religions, so you're not making the Get-Out-The-Vote connections you need with whatever religious groups exist in the voting area.

Trashhauler said...

Up until the time of Christ it was quite moral to rob, cheat, and kill the outsider, within the guidelines of whatever ruler held sway. Especially if they were enemies. If any secular humanist existed back then, they had little impact on the world at large.

Hugo Grotius took his cues from St Augustine, not Gustavus Adolphus.

The Cracker Emcee said...



"Considering all the slavers believed in God, I know that belief and morality have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

As a matter of fact, based on the evidence, it's really the road to Hell,..."

Mention God and there's always some knucklehead who will equate religion with faith. If they truly believed they wouldn't have been slaving.

AReasonableMan said...

Civilis said...
I do.


The self reported rate of bedrock religious belief among high caste white males is quite low. Why would politicians be exempt from this general trend? They lie about all kinds of things, why not their religiosity?

Jim S. said...

n.n.:

We are in agreement.

Revenant:

I think what is being contested is not the nature of heaven and hell but whether Christianity teaches that it is our moral choices that determine which one we go to. This is inaccurate. Christianity teaches that even the best of us has such great evil in them that we simply can't fit into heaven. God, however, has provided a way to fix this, and all we have to do is accept it. Accepting this way will have an effect on one's moral trajectory, certainly, but one's moral trajectory is an effect of one's acceptance of God, not vice-versa.

Jim S. said...

The Crack Emcee said...
cubanbob,

Crack would atheism have prevented slavery? Would a world run by atheists even have a moral basis to oppose slavery?


Of course.

3/14/14, 1:07 PM


What would that moral basis be? How would atheism have prevented slavery?

hombre said...

Revenant: "Well, Christians are told that if they act in a moral manner they'll receive infinite bliss, and if they act in an immoral manner they'll receive infinite suffering."

Nonsense! Christians are saved through faith, not by acts.

hombre said...

Crack: "Bullshit - slavery is over because blacks were going to be free."

Bullshit. Slavery is over in the US because hundreds of thousands of white men died to make it so.

Civilis said...

The self reported rate of bedrock religious belief among high caste white males is quite low. Why would politicians be exempt from this general trend? They lie about all kinds of things, why not their religiosity?

So we have a caste system now? What do I have to do to qualify for the top caste?

Some of them, of course, may have been faking it. We'll take Carter as a benchmark for what a political figure that has not shown himself to be a moral hypocrite out of office (whatever you think of the man and what he has done).

G.H.W. Bush is an old-school New England WASP, but his children seem to be more religious than he is, which is difficult to square with a family that is losing religion (as the Kennedys appear to be). Also, like Carter, he had a niche in humanitarian programs before he got too old. It's harder to tell with Reagan, but there are no signs or indications that he was a hypocrite, partially because he did nothing after leaving office which can say one way or the other due to the degradation in his condition. So we can't tell with Reagan, but personally, I'd give anyone the benefit of doubt if I had no evidence one way or the other.

Trashhauler said...

"Nonsense! Christians are saved through faith, not by acts."

Reminds me of the story about the rock-ribbed Missouri Synod lady who was so taken with the idea of faith over good works, she was determined to never commit any.

SJ said...

@Civilis,

I agree with you on Reagan, the younger Bush, and Clinton.

Even though Obama attended a church for many years, his behavior has me convinced that he worships himself, and has no awareness of a God who is higher than he.

For what it is worth, Reagan was comfortable quoting the Bible, when he felt need, than any President since. I guess that fits with the grew-up-attending-a-church culture, though I doubt that provides much evidence of active religious life.

hombre said...

Why would anyone think God is essential to morality? Hitler, Stalin and Mao all had morality.

God is essential only if morality is to be based on something other than personal preferences.

Trashhauler said...

"Bullshit. Slavery is over in the US because hundreds of thousands of white men died to make it so."

And the British and American navies which spent decades suppressing the trade long before the Civil War. Few other countries cared about it.

Robert Cook said...

"Can a committed materialist, who believes in an evolutionary theory that is governed by nothing but random chance, come up with a rational explanation for the existence of universal human dignity?"

What is "universal human dignity?"

As for our moral codes, they derive from those behaviors that, over time, tend to further the stability, safety, and survival of a given tribe or society and to discourage behavior that will destabilize and endanger a given tribe or society.

We consider murder and theft and other such behaviors to be "bad" because they undermine the stability of society; they generate fear and suspicion and anger, which impedes the trust and cooperation required between members of the group necessary for all work together to survive.

Oclarki said...

Christians aren't afforded infinite bliss because of their behavior. Christians believe we are powerless to achieve salvation through our own efforts. It's only through the faith in Christi's atonement on the cross that we are saved. People who are unaware of that basic teaching should do some more study about what Christianity actually teaches.

hombre said...

Trashhauler: "Reminds me of the story about the rock-ribbed Missouri Synod lady who was so taken with the idea of faith over good works, she was determined to never commit any."

True faith occasions good works.

Levi Starks said...

To put an even finer point on it, Christians believe in a salvation that is not based on a "Because of" belief, but rather an "in spite of" belief.
It's not God giving us what we deserve, its God giving us what we don't deserve.

Robert Cook said...

"Nonsense! Christians are saved through faith, not by acts."

Well, that's what some Christians believe.

One could also argue that a Christian with genuine faith will--must--be driven by that faith to perform "good acts," and that a Christian who does not perform "good acts" has a counterfeit faith. The one must lead to the other, in other words.

What you're really saying is that Christians believe an atheist (or any non-Christian), no matter his or her selflessness and good acts is doomed to Hell.

Jim S. said...

Robert Cook said...

What is "universal human dignity?"


The claim that every single human being has dignity and worth that should not be usurped.

As for our moral codes, they derive from those behaviors that, over time, tend to further the stability, safety, and survival of a given tribe or society and to discourage behavior that will destabilize and endanger a given tribe or society.

If the Nazis won World War 2 and successfully wiped out the Jews, would this have destabilized their society? Wouldn't it still have been morally wrong, regardless of whether it destabilized their society?

Trashhauler said...

"True faith occasions good works."

It was an old joke, hombre.

Robert Cook said...

"It's not God giving us what we deserve, its God giving us what we don't deserve."

Why don't we deserve it? God (speaking argumentatively) made us as animals, and as animals we behave, for good and ill. Why should we be considered undeserving of God's blessings simply because we are as he made us.

Christian theology is nonsensical.

Jim S. said...

Robert Cook said...
"Nonsense! Christians are saved through faith, not by acts."

Well, that's what some Christians believe.


Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians believe that the initial act of accepting God's salvation is by faith not works. The disagreement is whether the subsequent sanctification of the individual Christian proceeds by faith or by faith plus works.

Robert Cook said...

If the Nazis won World War 2 and successfully wiped out the Jews, would this have destabilized their society? Wouldn't it still have been morally wrong, regardless of whether it destabilized their society?

It wouldn't have been considered morally wrong to them, unless the more perspicacious among them realized--as some did--that a society that designates whole classes of people as subhuman and therefore worthy of extermination (or enslavement) is ultimately dangerous to everyone in the society.

BTW, we certainly haven't shied away from boasting of our own unique national morality while having exterminated and rounded up into concentration camps the indigenous peoples who were here before our arrival.

hombre said...

Cook: "As for our moral codes, they derive from those behaviors that, over time, tend to further the stability, safety, and survival of a given tribe or society and to discourage behavior that will destabilize and endanger a given tribe or society."

Just so, Cook. The "moral codes" of Nazi Germany derived in that way, as did those of the Maoists and Stalinists.

It's important when you say "our moral codes" to note that "our" refers to the totalitarian left.

Civilis said...

As for our moral codes, they derive from those behaviors that, over time, tend to further the stability, safety, and survival of a given tribe or society and to discourage behavior that will destabilize and endanger a given tribe or society.

We consider murder and theft and other such behaviors to be "bad" because they undermine the stability of society; they generate fear and suspicion and anger, which impedes the trust and cooperation required between members of the group necessary for all work together to survive.


For once, I completely agree with what Robert Cook is saying. It's as concise an objective standard of morality without invoking God as we're going to get.

If you believe in God, as I do, it's obviously incomplete. Yet we can debate the idea of morality or religion without a God. The problem with relying solely on a moral code as merely being set up for the benefit of society is that it's really easy when the ones that have to sacrifice for society are other people, especially people outside the group. It's also really easy for the person, people, or group in charge to assume that anything that benefits them benefits the larger society as a whole. Of course, this mentality can show up in religious societies (the Divine Right of Kings, etc.)

Being able to invoke tradition and precedent is good. Being able to throw weight behind that precedence of supernatural forces is even better. Christianity has been helped in that the church as an organization has by-and-large been separate from the state, meaning that morality isn't what is in service of the state. What failed was that the church hierarchy found itself a part of the upper feudal classes in medieval Europe, and thus bound to support the class system even if it wasn't in synch with individual monarchs.

Monkeyboy said...

Up until the time of Christ it was quite moral to rob, cheat, and kill the outsider, within the guidelines of whatever ruler held sway. Especially if they were enemies. If any secular humanist existed back then, they had little impact on the world at large.
IIRC the first person to speak out against slavery as a universal wrong was Saint Patrick.
At least thats in "How The Irish Saved Civilzation."

Jim S. said...

Robert Cook said...
If the Nazis won World War 2 and successfully wiped out the Jews, would this have destabilized their society? Wouldn't it still have been morally wrong, regardless of whether it destabilized their society?

It wouldn't have been considered morally wrong to them,


That's not my question. I grant that it wouldn't (and didn't) seem morally wrong to them. My question is whether it would have actually been wrong. Was the Holocaust actually immoral or was it morally neutral (because nothing is actually immoral)? I left a comment above about Peter Haas' book Morality after Auschwitz that addresses this.

hombre said...

Trashhauler: "It was an old joke, hombre."

It was also an opportunity to expound, Trashhauler. ; )

Scott M said...

BTW, we certainly haven't shied away from boasting of our own unique national morality while having exterminated and rounded up into concentration camps the indigenous peoples who were here before our arrival.

His point was that behaviours that stabilize a society do not require what we would consider moral or right. I was going to use Klingons, but what the hell. Nazis and the Japanese work too.

hombre said...

Jim S: "That's not my question. I grant that it wouldn't (and didn't) seem morally wrong to them. My question is whether it would have actually been wrong."

Cook gave the only answer an atheist or moral relativist can give. To them, there can be no actual or absolute moral standard since there is no source from which it can be derived.

Alex said...

Why the bias for monotheism? There are other cultures that are polytheistic and just as valid.

Civilis said...

BTW, we certainly haven't shied away from boasting of our own unique national morality while having exterminated and rounded up into concentration camps the indigenous peoples who were here before our arrival.

But that's because we followed the following as a basis of morality: "...behaviors that, over time, tend to further the stability, safety, and survival of a given tribe or society...". The land and resources here could be put to a more productive use, and the people could be brought into our superior culture; to the morality at the time, everyone benefitted in the long run, we just had to break a few eggs to get there. Obviously, we were wrong, but we were following the same moral principles that you laid out.

For a more theoretical discussion, look to Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics as a set of artificial morals. Asimov's creation of those laws was to show in a narrative context how such morals could be subverted.

Civilis said...

Ironically, one of the things that has helped me to maintain my faith is that the Christian rules set out, both the simplified Judaic rules in the 10 Commandments and the ethics laid out by Jesus in the Gospels, would be solid ethical rules to live by even if they were not divinely inspired.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Well, Christians are told that if they act in a moral manner they'll receive infinite bliss, and if they act in an immoral manner they'll receive infinite suffering. Atheists are told that if we act in a moral manner, we die and rot in the ground. If we act in an evil manner, we die and rot in the ground. There is no reward for goodness or punishment for evil beyond what you receive in live.

Say an atheist finds a sack full of bank money lying on the ground in the middle of a forest. He has to decide whether to steal it or return it. Metaphorically speaking, a Christian finds that same bag of money lying on the ground with a bunch of security cameras on it and a couple of cops watching it. Morality doesn't even enter in to the calculation, really, because only a complete moron would grab a bag of money under those circumstances."

I'll ignore the incorrect statement of Christian theology, plenty of comments above address that and just point out that your still not internalizing the logical implications of your own beliefs.

There is no good or evil, just behaviors. Some you approve of, others you do not. The reason you approve or disapprove is because of the conditioning you have received.

Next you'll say that some behaviors lead to better group cohesion which increases the group's and its members chances of survival.

So if the Christian's honesty gains him no points cause he thinks he is being watched, why should the atheist's honesty earn him any points? He his simply looking out for his best interests.

You really need to give up this good and evil, right and wrong, moral vs immoral thinking.

Certain actions increase the odds that you will survive and reproduce. And since random chance has caused you to care about that, and you are unable to overcome it (again, due to random chance), you are stuck.

The cosmos is all there is and all there ever will be.

Alex said...

The 1st commandment:

"You shall have no other gods before me"

Tell me how that is useful to everyday living or morality.

hombre said...

Cook: "What you're really saying is that Christians believe an atheist (or any non-Christian), no matter his or her selflessness and good acts is doomed to Hell."

I didn't say that, although it is no doubt true that many Christians believe that. I believe that an omnipotent God can decide at any time who is saved and who is not. It is, however, difficult for me to understand why God would save someone who has rejected Him given the sacrifice He made for us.

BTW, Cook, I assume you, or the actor to whom you refer, would be borrowing from us to determine which acts are "good" - at least in God's eyes. LOL.

Civilis said...

Certain actions increase the odds that you will survive and reproduce.

Which leads us to some very tricky philosophy. If I was sure that religious belief was good for a society and its members (basically scaring them by implying a Santa Claus / Big Brother in the sky who rewards the good and punishes the bad)m would I be ethically justified in creating a religion for them to believe in? I may myself know it is false, but if it makes people's lives better, would it be good?

Jim S. said...

Alex said...
Why the bias for monotheism? There are other cultures that are polytheistic and just as valid.

3/14/14, 2:20 PM


Say there are two gods, and they agree on what is moral and what is not. Then there is something they have in common, a single rule. Neither of the gods can be said to be its source, since it's something they share, some property distinct from them, that they have in common.

Now say they disagree on what is moral and what is not. In this case, the acceptance of one god's claims over the other's becomes arbitrary, because there is no absolute, final authority to resolve their disagreement.

Patrick O said...

Belief in God provided the context where not believing in God can still include morality.

It's like inoculations. People can not get their kids their shots because they live in a context where the diseases the shots prevent are very rare.

That being said, different gods bring different moralities. Hinduism has a built in class system. The Romans pre-Christianity encouraged pederasty and slavery.

But we all live in a Christian infused society, so the morality we have, with or without believing in a God, all comes from the foundations such belief in God provided.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"The 1st commandment:

"You shall have no other gods before me"

Tell me how that is useful to everyday living or morality."

From a practical standpoint, it kept the Hebrews from being absorbed by other tribes and nations. So now there are still Jewish people. Not so much the Canaanites.

Short answer: group cohesion.

Civilis said...

"You shall have no other gods before me"

Tell me how that is useful to everyday living or morality.


It (and the rest of the religion commandments) are to prevent the memes of the religion from being contaminated from outside sources. If I can have my Christianity and a religion that says "Thou shalt kill all unbelievers as heretics" then the Christianity is relatively worthless.

hombre said...

Ralph: "The cosmos is all there is and all there ever will be."

It is appropriate, therefore, to assume that your comments are no more significant than the fizzing of a soda can. So why make them?

mccullough said...

Patrick O,

And now that belief in God inculcated enough morality, the disappearance of this belief is no big deal.

The vaccine worked, and the disease has been eradicated.

n.n said...

There is not only no need for more than one God, but it is factually harmful when it engenders division. As for the "jealous God", that is a derisive description. The implication of "no other gods" is that the philosophy and commandments are pure and unadulterated. In this context, there cannot be divided loyalties or selective adherence. Presumably, an exclusive God is infallible and warrants this faith, while competing gods and, in particular, mortal gods are not.

hombre said...

Alex: '"You shall have no other gods before me"
Tell me how that is useful to everyday living or morality.'

How is the answer not obvious in a conversation that is, in part, about the derivation of morality?

mccullough said...

n.n.

We already have competing religions. What's the difference. Even religious people don't agree on this stuff. Shiva, God, Allah, Yahweh, Thor, Zeus, etc. Take your pick.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Which leads us to some very tricky philosophy. If I was sure that religious belief was good for a society and its members (basically scaring them by implying a Santa Claus / Big Brother in the sky who rewards the good and punishes the bad)m would I be ethically justified in creating a religion for them to believe in? I may myself know it is false, but if it makes people's lives better, would it be good?"

If there is no God, ethics don't come into it. The question is, does it benefit me if the hoi polloi believe in God. Voltaire thought so.

Civilis said...

If there is no God, ethics don't come into it. The question is, does it benefit me if the hoi polloi believe in God. Voltaire thought so.

The question is, if it benefits the 'hoi polloi' to believe in a God that doesn't exist, is there an argument that this is wrong without invoking God?

It's a philosophical question that is meant to examine religion without bringing God into the discussion.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"Ralph: "The cosmos is all there is and all there ever will be."

It is appropriate, therefore, to assume that your comments are no more significant than the fizzing of a soda can. So why make them?"

I'm a Christian. I am playing devils advocate.

Jim S. said...

A few questions I've asked have not been answered. I repeat them here just to stimulate a response, not to be obnoxious:

Crack Emcee: what would be the moral basis for objective morality given atheism? How would atheism have prevented slavery?

Robert Cook: Would the Holocaust have been morally wrong (actually wrong, objectively wrong) given atheism? Would it have been morally neutral?

For both: by "objective" I mean something that is true regardless of whether anyone believes it. So if the Nazis won World War 2, successfully wiped out the Jews, and killed everyone who thought it was wrong, so that no one thought it was immoral, would it still have been immoral?

Mike said...

Cook there are no "selfless" human beings and yes, Christ Himself said He is the only way to Heaven. Argue with Him, not with me.

As other wise commenters have pointed out, true faith will produce good works, but it is only the faith that "saves" one from eternal separation from God. That is the definition of Christian from Christ. To me all others claiming a different definition are...suspect.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"The question is, if it benefits the 'hoi polloi' to believe in a God that doesn't exist, is there an argument that this is wrong without invoking God?

It's a philosophical question that is meant to examine religion without bringing God into the discussion."

An interesting premise, but by what standard are you going to judge something good or bad? Even absent God, something must exist outside the system that is being measured to measure it with.

n.n said...

mtrobertsattorney:

Exactly. Human, and specifically individual dignity is an article of faith, that people will adopt or acknowledge even when there is no threat of coercion or possibly an incentive or means to reject it. This is different from other emergent phenomenon, in that it exists independent of physical stimuli and circumstances. It is purely a manifestation of human consciousness, which most people will exhibit.

William said...

Samuel Johnson believed that he was fated for eternal damnation because he doubted the existence of God.....I wonder if God discriminates against non-believers. I can't speak for God but it doesn't seem like non belief should be a deal breaker as regards salvation.....When I was young, masturbation was considered a sin and smoking a form of relaxation. The positions on this have now been reversed according to a consensus of theologians... Morality varies with time and place. We define morality differently, but we're all agreed that there is such a thing as morality and that the people we disagree with are immoral.

Trashhauler said...


"You shall have no other gods before me"

It also warns us about placing certain earthly concerns above the source of grace. Things like greed, the environment, or an all-consuming belief in government. Or any rabid -ism we might care to conceive.

(Boy, literalism slays me.)

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

The point is we understand the origins of the 10 commandments and their tribal nature. There is no reason to abide by them in the 21st century.

Jim S. said...

Morality varies with time and place.

Doesn't this open you up to the charge that the Holocaust was morally neutral? Don't we have to presuppose a viewpoint transcending individual cultures and eras in order to condemn the Holocaust as immoral?

That's a charged question, please don't take it mean-spiritedly.

n.n said...

mccullough:

Judge the merits of a religion by the principles it engenders. Place your faith in a philosopher (e.g. God) to enjoy favorable judgment in a post-mortem. The first requires objective, reproducible standards. The second is a gamble. Either we will cease to exist after death or be judged and sentenced, or something altogether different.

As far as we know, neither God nor gods intervene in mortal affairs, but act through a convergence of natural forces. So, take your cue from Nature, and reconcile it with your own intrinsic manifestation of morality. Then hope that the consensus agrees with your assessment.

Roughcoat said...

Those of you discussing Christian theology might want to have a look at TODAY'S gospel reading (Catholic), which is the famed and oft quote (and misquoted) "Golden Rule" reading, and which indicates that Christ himself (hence God) held good acts to be inextricably linked with faith:

Saint Matthew 7:7-12:
Jesus said to his disciples: «Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread,or a snake when he asks for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.

n.n said...

Mike:

My understanding is that it is both faith and works. That is trust demonstrated through actions. Words are nice; thoughts are nice; but, there is no greater confirmation of faith than actions.

Lydia said...

I've always felt that monotheism is preferable to polytheism simply because I'd hate to think that a rock or a cow or a rat needed to be catered to or beseeched for favors. Aside from that, I'm with Freud, an atheist who came to the belief late in his life that monotheism was an "advance in intellectuality” that gave the West a huge leg up. See his Moses and Monotheism.

Ralph Hyatt said...

"The point is we understand the origins of the 10 commandments and their tribal nature. There is no reason to abide by them in the 21st century."

So your argument is that people used to be stupid and we have progressed beyond all that not stealing and lying and murdering stuff?

Or that science has proven that God does not exist? So all that no God before Me stuff is just superstitious nonsense, really they didn't even have DVRs.

The Crack Emcee said...

traditional guy,

Crack needs to acknowledge,…


Only when whites here start acknowledging the price blacks pay for their ancestor's folly, will I listen to what whites think I supposedly "need" to acknowledge in return.

Telling blacks what to think is so common for whites you easily make blacks regularly think of slavery,...

Roughcoat said...

Mistake: That was yesterday's gospel I quoted above.

Today's gospel is even more adamant about the importance of good works:

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Matthew 5:20-26.

Jesus said to his disciples: «I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.'
But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, 'Raqa,' will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, 'You fool,' will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.

Roughcoat said...

And, finally, today's Old Testament reading addresses and confirms the importance of one's "works":

Book of Ezekiel 18:21-28.

Thus says the Lord GOD: If the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.

Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord GOD. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live?

And if the virtuous man turns from the path of virtue to do evil, the same kind of abominable things that the wicked man does, can he do this and still live? None of his virtuous deeds shall be remembered, because he has broken faith and committed sin; because of this, he shall die.

You say, "The LORD'S way is not fair!" Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather, are not your ways unfair?

When a virtuous man turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if a wicked man, turning from the wickedness he has committed, does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life; since he has turned away from all the sins which he committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

Civilis said...

An interesting premise, but by what standard are you going to judge something good or bad? Even absent God, something must exist outside the system that is being measured to measure it with.

Well, I'm looking for someone to argue the position on any standards, such as Robert Cook's. Like you, I'm well into Devil's Advocate territory (perhaps doubly so) at this point.

The dogmatic atheist argument against religion tends to be an argument against God. My question is, how does disbelief in God discredit religion looked at as system of memes to run a society? If I can use the arguments for morality without God to justify religion as a good thing even if a God is not involved, then atheist arguments against God don't discredit religion.

Krumhorn said...

cubanbob,

Crack would atheism have prevented slavery? Would a world run by atheists even have a moral basis to oppose slavery?


Of course.


Crack, I can't imagine how you could be so certain of this. While a large number of horrible human events have been perpetrated by "believers", it's impossible to deny that:

1. The most extraordinarily horrible human events in history were perpetrated by "non-believers", and

2. The most consistent rebalancing of human conduct have historically been the result of the work of Christians and deists.

The experience of man prior to the birth of Christ was served up with a rich concentrated sauce of slavery and oppression in a life that was "nasty, brutish and short".

-Krumhorn

Ralph Hyatt said...

"The dogmatic atheist argument against religion tends to be an argument against God. My question is, how does disbelief in God discredit religion looked at as system of memes to run a society? If I can use the arguments for morality without God to justify religion as a good thing even if a God is not involved, then atheist arguments against God don't discredit religion."

I was going to say that most atheist arguments are along the lines of "it kills" and "it poisons everything."

But the new Cosmos propaganda reminds me that they also say that it hinders science. And they like science, so religion is bad.

Civilis said...

The point is we understand the origins of the 10 commandments and their tribal nature. There is no reason to abide by them in the 21st century.

The problem is at this point, what stops you from self-justifying any breaking of social taboos by saying 'those taboos are old fashioned and can be ignored.' It's especially tricky when the social taboo is relatively easy to ignore on an individual level.

One of the commandments is 'Honor thy father and mother.' We can justify breaking this when one of them gets abusive. It's certainly a social rule that should not be codified into law. If one kid who otherwise doesn't have reason to break this law breaks it anyways, the world won't end. But every child thinks his parents are unfair and can be ignored. As soon as you tell people they're free to go about and ignore this at any time because it's not always applicable, the family social order breaks down completely.

Roughcoat said...

The gospel readings I quoted above are relevant to the discussion about faith and good works because they confirm that one's behavior and actions, for good or ill, are important to God and Christ because they important to other people. Good works (or good behavior or good actions) are ipso facto desirable because they are beneficial to the lives of other people and to one's own life as well. One can, I think, be an atheist and still be fundamentally in agreement with this view.

Ralph Hyatt said...

""The dogmatic atheist argument against religion tends to be an argument against God. My question is, how does disbelief in God discredit religion looked at as system of memes to run a society? If I can use the arguments for morality without God to justify religion as a good thing even if a God is not involved, then atheist arguments against God don't discredit religion."

By the way, I'm a Christian, but I've argued here in Althouse's blog comments that that a rational non-believer would encourage religiosity so as to control the less rational.

But they insist that utopia can only be achieved by chucking away those silly superstitions.

jr565 said...

If you're belief in morality is based on your own sense of morality how then are you ever immoral unless you think you are?
So, can a person be good absent God. Well, sure. But it's a subjective thing. If they think they're good, they're good. IF you think they're good, then it's because you subjectively think their morality is good.

If you think they're bad, then there is nothing objective about their badness, their sin is that they don't conform to your sense of goodness.

Think about someone like a hitler. Is your objection to him objective, or subjective? If subjective, then your opinion is no greater or worse than Hitlers.
If objective, then it requires a morality above you. Hence a moral universe.

jr565 said...

ganderson wrote:
"People can be good without God. Societies can't."

Good according to whom? Themselves? Well, who isn't convinced of their own virtue?

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

Crack Emcee wrote:
Considering all the slavers believed in God, I know that belief and morality have absolutely nothing to do with each other.

The abolitionists argued against slavery objectively, not subjectively. You're saying there is no objective morality. What then is your objection to it?
Your subjective opinion that slavery is wrong? Well why should those who don't believe slavery is wrong be held to your subjective morality?

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

People really need to answer why they think they're good. If everyone comes to their own morality and there is no higher morality, then all this discussion of whether someone can be good absent religion is an argument that has no point.

n.n said...

Roughcoat:

Of course atheists can can be moral individuals. Religion (i.e. moral philosophy) is separable from faith, except on points established with articles of faith, which often exist outside a limited frame of reference, and are therefore immune to scientific inquiry

Morality is known to derive from both nature and nurture. The purpose of nurture may not be to endow morality, but to reinforce it, and to ensure a uniform realization. Its origin, however, is an article of faith, which is often characterized as an emergent phenomenon, even when the circumstances do not necessarily support that conclusion. There is an open question of cause and effect.

jr565 said...

Crack Emcee wrote:
Considering all the slavers believed in God,


I don't know that all the slave owners believed in God. Or that those who didn't believe in slavery didn't believe in God. Abolitionists believed in God and argued against slavery.
Absent god though slavery becomes a utilitarian argument or a logical argument. Not a moral one. Because there is no moral answer to the question. And so, those who don't believe in God shouldn't use moral arguments to argue against slavery since of course the only moral arguments they are using are those which come out of their own mouth, and not based on any objective thing. And the same could be said for those arguing FOR slavery.

On what basis are secular liberals arguing that republicans are evil or wrong? If it's just their opinion then the sin is that those who don't share their opinion don't share their opinion.

n.n said...

jr565:

The best description of good that I have encountered is that it engenders a functional outcome. The next step is to describe what constitutes functional. I start with two articles of faith or axioms: individual dignity and intrinsic value. I further consider two causative orders: natural and conscious. The rest (i.e. life) is a reconciliation process to achieve an optimally functional outcome.

Roughcoat said...

I'm a loyal and committed (but not as devout as I should be) Catholic, and quite honestly I don't have a problem with people being atheists. I know good people who are atheists and I've known bad people who are atheists. In using the terms "good" and "bad" I am of course referring to the way one lives (the issue of good works, good behavior, good actions) and not to the issue of faith. Atheists and agnostics can be good and moral in ways that mimic (and I don't mean that in a pejorative sense) the ways in which people of faith are good and moral: hence in this respect you can't differentiate between atheists/agnostics and people of faith. And that's really all that matters with respect to maintaining social cohesion and a "good" and well-functioning society: that a majority of people, whether they are people of faith or not, are acting in good and moral ways, and in much the same ways. You can be be philosophically and theologically inconsistent and still live in a way that will mark you as a good and moral person.

jr565 said...

Roughcoat wrote:
" Christ himself (hence God) held good acts to be inextricably linked with faith:"

It requires an objective morality though. Because how do you know you are doing good works or acts? If it's subjective, then slavery could be a good work if you believe it to be so. A christian could say something is a good or bad act because it conforms or doesn't conform to an objective morality. IF you're the one determining what a good act is then rape is a good act, if you don't care what others think about you committing rape.

jr565 said...
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Roughcoat said...

In reference to my comments immediately preceding: that's why Catholics and Catholic theology places so much value on good works. Because, I think, Christ in his wisdom understood that a lot of people would have little or no faith, and that, inasmuch as their lack of faith was due to the Holy Spirit not having entered into them--in the sense that faith is a gift from God and not something you obtain through your own determined actions--he held that good works were important because at the very least they ensured that people would act in a godly way until they did receive the holy spirit. I think it's a pretty smart theology for that reason.

Krumhorn said...

It's my view that the lefties are the primary source of the bullying we have traditionally experienced about Christian belief. The reason for this is clear. Lenin clearly understood it. If they can disconnect our society from Christian thought, then there is no anchor to morality and no secure mooring to our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Once disconnected from these immutable truths, their fascist tyranny can run rampant, and the means are justified by the ends. Everything is subject to the most pernicious linguistic constructs of the Lakoffs of this world designed to market their opportunistic and relativistic morality.

- Krumhorn

jr565 said...

n.n. wrote:
"The best description of good that I have encountered is that it engenders a functional outcome. The next step is to describe what constitutes functional. I start with two articles of faith or axioms: individual dignity and intrinsic value. I further consider two causative orders: natural and conscious. The rest (i.e. life) is a reconciliation process to achieve an optimally functional outcome."
Right. YOU think that's the best description. And YOU start with two articles of faiths or axioms. DO others start with those same articles of faiths or axioms?
All you can really say is that YOU think something is evil or good because you think that something is evil or good for you.
Every single person in the world can make that argument

n.n said...

A lot of "religious" people are also pro-abortion/choice, even when their religion condemns unjustified acts of murder. It's funny how apostates can wear the garments of religion while simultaneously shearing its threads, and still pass as authentic or whole.

The merits of a religion, or philosophy generally, should be judged separately from people who proclaim its adherence. The principles stand alone and are worthy of individual judgment.

As for God, we assume that human beings are capable of freewill (i.e. original actions), which precludes judgment of the philosopher by the works of his purported followers. We should resist conflating individual behavior with their claimed philosophy. The philosophy is not only separable but independent, unless it is a cause of the behavior.

jr565 said...

Judge not lest ye be judged. There is no god, so who's judging me? And therefore why can't I judge you?

n.n said...
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Roughcoat said...

Re jr565: "It requires an objective morality though. Because how do you know you are doing good works or acts?" etc.

Indeed. It gets messy and complicated. Society and social norms and traditions handed down through the ages obviously play a critical role in deciding what is good and what isn't. The Greeks, as you know, debated this issue endlessly: what is the good? Personally I believe that people are guided in part by natural law which helps us to identify the good and act accordingly. Because I am Catholic I believe that natural law comes from God. But an atheist could argue, with validity, that natural law and a desire for the good is genetically coded. I.e., we're good dogs and members of the pack because our genes are coded that way. Of course there are bad dogs. Christians attribute their existence to original sin; atheists, to human nature, which is part of our coding.

n.n said...

jr565:

I start with...

I make no claims of universal consensus or even appeasement. For example, there isn't a universal consensus of individual dignity, and certainly not of intrinsic value. Another example, while the natural order is generally acknowledged, if only by force or an inevitable outcome, the conscious order is subject to debate. Not everyone will even acknowledge that freewill is an inviolable phenomenon attributable to individuals.

Roughcoat said...

jr565:

Yep. As I said: messy and complicated. I'm not anywhere near figuring it out. I'm just spitballing. Basically my whole life is spitballing.

jr565 said...

AReasonableMan wrote:
Only religious bigots believe that atheists cannot be moral people.

I think your whole morality makes no sense. And you don't understand theism or atheism. Can an atheist be a moral person? According to whom? and on what standard of morality?
Is someone who believes in subjective morality ever immoral if they don't believe their actions are immoral?
How are you determining people are bigots let alone evil?

jr565 said...

Roughcoat wrote:
But an atheist could argue, with validity, that natural law and a desire for the good is genetically coded. I.e., we're good dogs and members of the pack because our genes are coded that way.

Why would we be genetically coated with morality? It still requires a moral universe. And how are we determining what the coding actually is or even says?

jr565 said...

n.n. wrote
make no claims of universal consensus or even appeasement. For example, there isn't a universal consensus of individual dignity, and certainly not of intrinsic value. Another example, while the natural order is generally acknowledged, if only by force or an inevitable outcome, the conscious order is subject to debate. Not everyone will even acknowledge that freewill is an inviolable phenomenon attributable to individuals.

So then you can't really say that anything is right or wrong but that it conforms to your own morality.Your morality is merely a statement of your value judgements. Just like everyone else's.

Patrick O said...

"The vaccine worked, and the disease has been eradicated."

The Jenny McCarthy approach to vaccinations. The vaccine works, but the diseases keep popping up.

Maybe it's less like a polio vaccine, once is enough, and more like a whooping cough vaccine, it needs a booster every so often.

Whether or not the disappearance of belief is a big deal is certainly a question. I guess it leads one to ask whether morality is itself the primary purpose of belief.

A code of morality isn't why I believe in God, though, that's like 4 or 5 down the list.

Roughcoat said...

Re: "Why would we be genetically coated with morality?"

Because it's functional? Because it tends to promote order rather than chaos? Because an orderly world better promotes species survival?

So, you may ask: why does the universe want survival?

Well. Why is there something instead of nothing?

Don't know. It's a mystery. Ultimately, that's what we come to: the fact of the mystery.

We Catholics are big into The Mystery, with a capital T and a capital M. So was the author of the book of Job. We know that there are some things that we don't know and will not know in this life. They will be revealed to us at the end of time. Period.

Roughcoat said...

Re: "And how are we determining what the coding actually is or even says?"

We talk about it. We discuss. Endlessly. And with humility.

jr565 said...

Lucien wrote:
Meanwhile, being thoughtful and considerate about your fellow humans is something anyone can do without needing any rules about when not to eat pig meat, or how to hire someone to turn on your lights on Saturday, etc.

Meawhile being thoughtless and inconsiderate about your fellow humans is something that anyone can do, also without religion.
How are we coming to the conclusion that being thoughtful and considerate is the objectively right thing to do? What is your response to someone who says that he has no reason to be considerate because being considerate is merely a value judgement that you want to impose, but he does't care. Are either of you right or wrong?

jr565 said...

So, can an atheist be moral? Only if he conforms to my value system. So what determines my moral value system? Is it subjective or objective?
The funny thing is that liberals and atheists argue that there is no God and so morality must be subjective and yet demand that others believe in their morality as if it was objective. You're not Gods. So why should we follow your morality as if it were absolutely true?

The Crack Emcee said...

Krumhorn,

, I can't imagine how you could be so certain of this. While a large number of horrible human events have been perpetrated by "believers", it's impossible to deny that:

1. The most extraordinarily horrible human events in history were perpetrated by "non-believers", and

Every "atheist" movement I've ever seen sited, when people suggest this, was always fueled my a messianic fervor but - and this is where people get confused - that's not atheism. I am no more capable of worshiping Mao as Jesus.

2. The most consistent rebalancing of human conduct have historically been the result of the work of Christians and deists.

This is true but atheism was hardly an accepted concept - to even be allowed - in the past, and to deny atheists were part of the Civil Rights Movement would be an outright falsehood.

The experience of man prior to the birth of Christ was served up with a rich concentrated sauce of slavery and oppression in a life that was "nasty, brutish and short".

True but, for blacks, it's been that way afterwards as well and all the faith in the world - which blacks most definitely have - hasn't been, on a day-to-day level, much of a help. Churches are still segregated. Whites who believe are no nicer, generally (there are exceptions) and it's still a major racket as far as I can tell. Starting with the denial of reality:

We don't need religion to live better lives and, I'd say, we'd be much better off without it.

I know my life wouldn't be in the state it's in without the fervent "belief" that led my (white) wife to kill three people.

n.n said...

jr565:

I can't tell, but are you playing devil's advocate for its own sake, or is there a greater truth you hope to expose? From what I recall of your comments, I think its the latter.

jr565 said...

If atheists were on a plane and crashed on a deserted island and there were only two survivors, what would their objection be if the second survivor tried to kill them. Is murder objectively wrong or subjectively wrong then?

jr565 said...

In other words, other than their objection to being killed, what is their moral case for why murder is actually wrong?

Jim S. said...

Every "atheist" movement I've ever seen sited, when people suggest this, was always fueled my a messianic fervor

That's not religion that's ideology. An ideology puts something ahead of oneself. So all religions, apart from self-worship, are ideologies, but not all ideologies are religions. And ideology is unavoidable: even the denial of all ideology boils down to an ideological position. At any rate, the alternative is to put oneself ahead of everything else. If someone wants to avoid ideology because many of them have immoral consequences, you have to embrace an extremely immoral position.

mccullough said...

Crack,

I think you're the first person who's applied the "No True Scotsmen" approach to atheism. Lenin/Stalin/Mao were atheists and demanded atheism from the masses. I do agree with your assessment that they basically replaced statues of the Virgin Mary with statues of themselves, but it's atheism nonetheless.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Crack Emcee said...

Jim S.,

"That's not religion that's ideology."

No it isn't. As a cult activist it's important I understand these differences, and even how one can slide into and out of states of mind - without sharing in them.

An ideology is just a roadmap of a particle brand of thinking. Conservatism is an ideology. Right Wing Christian Conservatism is not.

Blogger mccullough,

Crack,

I think you're the first person who's applied the "No True Scotsmen" approach to atheism.

Thank you. I'm proud to be me.

Lenin/Stalin/Mao were atheists and demanded atheism from the masses.

True, but it doesn't matter - the masses didn't give them that. And the same phenomena, of the false identification of atheists, happens here:

When the religious surveys are done, every year, the "spiritual but not religious" are wrongly lumped in with atheists, when the two have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I mean, do I strike you as the kind of person who'd be mooning to a crystal? I've taken on other so-called atheists on this very point.

England and France both say they're moving away from belief but, I say, Scientology wouldn't be setting up headquarters there if that were true.

I do agree with your assessment that they basically replaced statues of the Virgin Mary with statues of themselves, but it's atheism nonetheless.

Again - it isn't. Atheism gets it's share of fakers, known and unknown, just like anything else. Some people get confused. You know, the human condition.

I'm ashamed to admit, as an atheist, I haven't met too many others. The late Christopher Hitchens, but not too many others,...

William said...

The forced labor camps of the Soviet Union and Red China were an integral part of their economy. It takes a delicate definition of slavery not to regard their servitude as slavery. Hitler, of course, did Mao and Stalin one better. He discovered that if you fed prisoners 600 calories a day, they could live for months on the stored calories in their bodies. Much more cost effective......Slavery was far more widespread and ruthless in the 20th century than in preceding ages, and was inflicted by by utopian atheists.

jr565 said...

"Again - it isn't. Atheism gets it's share of fakers, known and unknown, just like anything else. Some people get confused. You know, the human condition.

I'm ashamed to admit, as an atheist, I haven't met too many others. The late Christopher Hitchens, but not too many others,..."

That's like Robert Cooke saying communists aren't real communists because they are hypocrites about communism.

William said...

There is apparently no known way to prove or disprove string theory. I'm not the go to person to explain this but apparently string theory reconciles some anomalies in our understanding of the universe......Thus so with God. He's not the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He's a theory that explains many of the anomalies and spiritual longings of human nature. He deserves the same respect we give to string theory.

jr565 said...

And even if atheists didn't start wars or subjugate the message specifically because they were atheists or because they were atheists, its not as if atheism acted as a shield against them doing horrendous things.
All those atheistic movements sought to remake society, and impose their secular values on the society. And if millions died, well than thats the price to achieve utopia.

cubanbob said...

The Crack Emcee said...
cubanbob,

Crack would atheism have prevented slavery? Would a world run by atheists even have a moral basis to oppose slavery?


Of course.

3/14/14, 1:07 PM"

And on what of you base that conclusion on?

Revenant said...

There is apparently no known way to prove or disprove string theory.

Scientific theories aren't "proven", so that much goes without saying. As for disproving it, various attempts at doing so have been tried and failed; other tests remain un-run because the cost of running them is currently prohibitive or because we lack the technology to run them.

The problem with the "there is an omnipotent deity" hypothesis is different. The problem there is that by definition an omnipotent deity can make it look like he doesn't exist -- no test can rule out the existence of something with unbeatable stealth powers. :)

So in the case of string theory, we can't disprove it in the sense that we haven't managed to do so. In the case of omnipotent gods, we can't disprove them because doing so is logically impossible.

Larry Nelson said...



AReasonableMan said...
Who honestly believes Reagan or Bush I were god-fearing christians?


I can't say what others believe, but I'll leave it to you to assure us that they weren't.
BTW: Just how do you know what is in the hearts of men you only read about?

Revenant said...

Would atheism have prevented slavery? Would a world run by atheists even have a moral basis to oppose slavery?

Would a world run by atheists have slavery TO oppose?

The Crack Emcee said...

William said...
The forced labor camps of the Soviet Union and Red China were an integral part of their economy. It takes a delicate definition of slavery not to regard their servitude as slavery.

Or a strict one - which camp do you think I'm in?

Hitler, of course, did Mao and Stalin one better. He discovered that if you fed prisoners 600 calories a day, they could live for months on the stored calories in their bodies. Much more cost effective...…

I just read today that Goering's last words denounced Jesus as "just another smart Jew,…” I almost spilt my coffee, laughing.

Do any of you go to the top of my blog and read it? It might add a little clarity. Especially if you get far enough into it, the race stuff disappears, it becomes "colorblind", and then you're back to these topics.

"Slavery was far more widespread and ruthless in the 20th century than in preceding ages, and was inflicted by by utopian atheists."

Please. You're confusing forced labor with slavery and the two are completely different. You could say the first is political and the second, cultural.

Forced Labor - you're a human being, but you're worthless. You work with a gun to your head, and it's used often.

Slavery - you're a human being, but you're in debt, somehow. You work with an understanding of your situation, which may or may not be relieved by agreement or circumstance.

Slavery (American style) - you're a piece of furniture or, if you're "bright" (by the - pardon me - white standards of the day) at best, an expensive animal. You work under whatever scheme is devised, and it usually will involve some form of twisted coercion, buffeted by a psycho-sexual violence, that will continue until the second you take your final breath.

From 1620 to 1865 and beyond, Gentlemen. Generations. And now it's said my people, who have been scattered across this land, it's said what they've endured, what they carry with them - whether they tell you about it or not (Think of Clarence Thomas in the Anita Hill case - he thinks about it, too) they say it's not worthy of reparations.

That's some cold shit, straight to your heart, trying to hear white people now say "Let's walk forward together and ignore all that" like it wasn't your blood, your family, your grandmother, whatever.

140 years is two 70 year olds living and dying back-to-back. It's not a long time. It's not ancient history. It's very real to our lives.

Revenant said...

The forced labor camps of the Soviet Union and Red China were an integral part of their economy. It takes a delicate definition of slavery not to regard their servitude as slavery.

If you want to define forced convict labor as slavery, the United States hasn't abolished slavery yet.

Ironically, here in the United States opposition to such practices comes mostly from the secular Left. It wasn't social conservatives who led the fight against southern chain gangs.

Revenant said...

One more thing:

It takes a delicate definition of slavery not to regard their servitude as slavery.

Not really, no.

Merriam-Webster defines as slave as "a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another". That definition does not match the residents of labor camps. Those people are wholly subject to the *state*, not to another person.

The practice is similar to slavery in that it deprives people of their freedom and forces them to toil for the benefit of others, but it is a different sort of institution. It is, in truth, nothing more than the institution of *government* taken to an extreme. All governments deprive people of freedom to some extent and force them to labor for others to some extent -- that's what things like "taxes" and "conscription" are.

The Crack Emcee said...

God DAMN, I'm taking a battering out here:

I ended that last post before I wanted to - I got a phone call.

A friend asks if I'd pick her up from work, three miles away. I say sure, go out to the car, and it's been broken into.

And that happened, from what I hear, because I'm lazy, morally deficient, and like to play the victim.

Hooray for me.

Shouting Thomas said...

Which is crazier?

1. Crack's 24/7 ranting about racism/slavery?

or

2. That people will actually engage him in this rant for hours on end?

Patrick O said...

"I say sure, go out to the car, and it's been broken into."

That sucks. Very frustrating. Very violating.

I walked outside one day in similar circumstances. My car wasn't there. Stolen. Filed a police report.

Police apparently found it a week later. Didn't tell me. Impounded it. A month later, I got a letter from the impound company, saying I owed $500 or they'd sell my car. For storing it that long.

The sheriffs had a good deal with the tow/impound company. They find vehicles, don't report them as found, owner pays the fee to get it back.

Car stolen on one end, robbed on the other end.

eric said...

I'm still waiting to hear who should get reparations.

Specifically. For example, should Obama?

Shouting Thomas said...

@Patrick

You buy Crack's story?

Why?

It hasn't occurred to you that you are either getting scammed or that you are listening to the raving of a psychotic?

Fen said...

"Surprisingly few people around the world think belief in God is essential to morality"

Law school is not essential to pass the bar. You can become a good lawyer without going to law school.

Fen said...

"All those atheistic movements sought to remake society, and impose their secular values on the society. And if millions died, well than thats the price to achieve utopia."

Yup. The problem with atheists is that they simply divert their spiritual needs to another "cause". Usually the State or themselves.

Better a God in Heaven than a God-King on earth, I say.

AReasonableMan said...

Blogger Shouting Thomas said...
Which is crazier?

1. Crack's 24/7 ranting about racism/slavery?

or

2. That people will actually engage him in this rant for hours on end?


So why not just piss off then?

Leora said...

Isn't the point of the Good Samaritan parable that someone who is a heathen can be a moral actor?
I would expect many Christians read it that way. I think that explains the wishy washy US numbers where more than 80% believe in a higher power. There is a big intersection of people who believe in God who also believe people can be moral without belief.

The Crack Emcee said...

Am I the only person on the planet who can get seriously ripped off only to have someone claim others are "getting scammed" by mentioning it?

It's truly remarkable. I asked for nothing. I just said it happened.

I know it's ST (making the spinning-finger-next-to-the-head sign for "crazy") but still, there's always somebody targeting me.

I know I'm "different" but damn.

William said...

Crack is sufficiently rational to leave the impression that if you present him with just one more logical argument, he will say "You know, I never thought of that, but you're absolutely right. Starving peasants on communal farms had a worse deal than Jim Crow sharecroppers." It will never happen. The philosophes say a man can only be argued out of a position that he was first argued into. Crack's theory of race relations explains and forgives all all the bad decisions of his life. It meets as many of his enmotional needs as an elderly nun's belief in the catechism......The Anglo-Saxons without much evidence convinced themselves that they, above all others, deserved to rule the world. The African-Americans, like Crack, based on similar evidence believe that they are the most abused people on earth...........Maybe the acceptance of slavery was a survival skill for the blacks, a way of making the best of a hard world. The prisoners in the gulag cried when they heard of the death of Stalin. People can find the nutrients in a shit sandwich.

jr565 said...

Cubanbob wrote:
"Crack would atheism have prevented slavery? Would a world run by atheists even have a moral basis to oppose slavery?"

would a world run by atheists have a moral basis to oppose anything? When they talk about imposing morality on others are they not engaged in the biggest projection of all time?
At least when Christians do it they are referring to A higher authority. What authority are atheists referring to other than their own justification?

William said...

The Aztecs took prisoners in order to harvest cheap protein. The Spaniards enslaved their prisoners to gain cheap labor. I'd be interested to learn which sin God thinks is deserving of a lower circle in hell......There are objectifications worse than being a slave or being the main course at the victory dinner. I think of those poor bastard physicians whom Mao sent out to the rural communes. There they ended their days spreading shit on rice paddies. They had to learn to objectify themselves. They weren't physicians. They were bourgeoise. They hadn't learned medicine. They had learned to feel superior to the peasants. They spent the last ragged years of their lives trying to sincerely learn these lessons........The people who were most supportive of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution can take pride that they were opposed to America's Jim Crow laws. .

Patrick O said...

"Why?"

I take people at face value. I hope for people.

I choose to see the best in people.

Plus, it's a weird thing to bring up at random in the context of Crack's general way of arguing these days.

Dr Weevil said...

So the same guy who was telling me just this morning how much he'd like to see the mothers of all the white people he argues with here (mine in particular) raped by black men wants us to feel sorry for him because his car was broken into. It's hard not to feel sorry for a guy who's car's been broken into, but in this case I'll confine myself to not much caring one way or the other.

The Crack Emcee said...

William,

Sure, Jim Crow sharecropping, maybe - you (conveniently?) skipped right over slavery, preceding it, I noticed. Cumulatively, I can't say - trauma is trauma, and blacks have seen and suffered it. Seriously, I read as much history as anyone here, I think, and I can't find too many horrors that blacks haven't endured, unless it's Hiroshima or something.

But living without political power, under the terror of the Klan, on land you don't own, making little to no profit, with no future?

Really? You want to search the entire planet to avoid saying the people who live across the road from you had it a-bit-more-than-bad?

Strikes me as kinda desperate.

"A man can only be argued out of a position that he was first argued into."

Wow - this isn't my life, with family and friends and my own experience and the country I live in, but a position I've talked myself into. That's fascinating. So when I was a child, and my slave-minded foster parents didn't know the white insurance guy was "just the insurance guy", and would get all dressed up for his visit, including whipping out the good dishes and feeding him the best food we had - only to have me realize, the day our house burned down, that he didn't even know my crying mother's name - I talked myself into understanding something about race that day?

O.K., you were there and you know best.

"Race relations explains and forgives all all the bad decisions……"

So we're framing it as just me. Toure' and that black woman on MSNBC, Al Sharpton, Jess Jackson, Bill Burr, Tim Wise, Chauncey DeVega, Samuel L. Jackson, Oprah, Jay-Z, and all the rest, known and unknown, rich and poor, who just-won't-shut-up-about-race - they don't count.

It's just me.

"The Anglo-Saxons without much evidence,..."

It started with something called "Manifest Destiny" or something, I think. Then came the One Drop Rule. Dred Scott - I'm not sure. Pick one.

"The African-Americans,...believe that they are the most abused people......….."

Oh, we're pretty confirmed on that - and most of the world seems to agree. Seem to be having some problems at home, though.

But you left out the OTHER part - the part that said whites bred supermen, who could put a basket in a hoop while jumping over five guys, who look like they're standing still by comparison.

Men and women who, by necessity, had to became a little-bit-more-than-clever to stay alive and/or escape - without help - and then cross multiple states undetected - and without help - to reach the safety of a white abolitionist's home (those abolitionist's were so brave! - I know I have to say that to make someone feel better).

Those people gave us blood transfusions, and peanut butter, and the traffic light, still used today.

But you say it's all-victim-all-the-time? O-kay.

"Maybe the acceptance of slavery was a survival skill for the blacks,..."

I don't know what that means - doesn't matter - it's as cockamamy as the rest. Carry on:

"People can find the nutrients in a shit sandwich."

Translation: Blacks are so stupid. 40 million Americans - except for Dr. Ben Carson, Herman Cain, and Clarence Thomas, of course.

Like it's a compliment from whites to tell us - except for their few chosen favorites post-slavery - we don't understand even our own lives.

I'll say this for whites - with no racist intent or anger or anything:

For a seemingly sociopathic, unself-aware, easily distracted, blinded by blinking lights and tits and dicks (not always in that order) fearful, gun-toting, and completely clueless people when it comes to processing other's emotions - and let's not forget right and wrong - y'all have got the biggest balls of any group of beings that have ever walked this planet.

And you're Hell bent (literally) on keeping them in black's faces for all of eternity.

Thanks for heads-up. It was,…refreshing.

hombre said...

Leora-: "Isn't the point of the Good Samaritan parable that someone who is a heathen can be a moral actor?"

No.

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