Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Is Absolute Morality Superior?

Not The Godol Hador makes another tiresome post ridiculing skeptics for not believing in absolute morality. He seems to believe that believing in one is superior because otherwise you can just make up your own morality.

Here's the big flaw:

When you claim to believe in absolute morality, you don't need to justify your moral beliefs in any way except to claim that God or some old book says so. This reasoning leads to religious wars and terrorism as well as the legal and practical enforcement of all sorts of hatred and discrimination. How does the Godol criticise a woman who kills her babies because she believes God told her to? Doesn't he believe that God commanded Abraham the same thing?

Moral relatavists, on the other hand, can make no claims of absolute morality, so their moral beliefs are open to debate. Contrary to what the Godol believes, this is a good thing, since morals can evolve and be improved by criticism and consensus.

64 comments:

Godol Hador said...

> Not The Godol Hador makes another tiresome post

Tiresome? Maybe in your subjective opinion. Not to me!

> Contrary to what the Godol believes, this is a good thing, since morals can evolve and be improved by criticism and consensus.

'Improved' how so? You steal terms from religion and misuse them. How can you improve morality? In your ideology it doesn't 'improve' at all, it just changes according to public desire. Your usage of the term 'evolve' is actually quite apt in this regard, since evolution is not an upwardly mobile thing, it's just that mutations happen and the fittest survive. It's not about improvement, just change.

Jewish Atheist said...

I suppose it depends on how you define "improve." Certainly, over the past 1000 years, Western morality has generally improved with some noteable (and enormous) setbacks. First, in the leading societies, only white landowners had rights, then all white men, then all white people, then all people. Kings no longer rule by Divine Right. Certainly, there is still slavery all over the world, but the most powerful nations consider it immoral, at least publicly. Your God considers it okay, but modern skeptics' morality (and your Rabbis', to be fair) has evolved beyond that of the primitive people who wrote the Torah.

Evolution *is* an upwardly mobile thing, if you define "upwardly" as the direction of increased fitness or complexity. (Those are two separate dimensions which are increasing as time continues.)

Yahmdallah said...

"When you claim to believe in absolute morality, you don't need to justify your moral beliefs in any way except to claim that God or some old book says so."

Actually, I think they still need to be justified because no one, Jews or Christians, still practices some of the rules and laws laid down in Leviticus (which is a good thing). Therefore, those who don't (practice them) have to justify why not.

I don't because I think those laws were for a certain purpose and time, both of which have passed.

dbackdad said...

The choosing of a an absolute morality, like that of religion, renders you incapable of moral action. To be truly moral you need to accept full responsibility for one's self. Otherwise, you are just like a child, doing exactly what someone tells you to do.

Laura said...

I'm a firm believer that "Truth" does not exist - for the many reasons you pointed out. There are many people who confuse moral relativism with a complete lack of morality. I would be interested in your opinions on the two. Morals should not be based on static laws from a bygone era. We need to adapt our idea of right and wrong as we gather new information. But that sounds a bit too much like science ;-)

Sadie Lou said...

"Doesn't he believe that God commanded Abraham the same thing?"

Not the same thing.
The woman that killed her babies because "God told her to" was not promised that her kids were going to inherit the promised land.
Abraham acted in faith when he led his son to the top of that mountain.
He knew that God's promise would come true and that God would provide the sacrifice. That's what the word tells us.
How could God promise Abraham that his son would inherit the promised land if God was going to make Abraham sacrifice his son that day? Put two and two together...

Jewish Atheist said...

How could God promise Abraham that his son would inherit the promised land if God was going to make Abraham sacrifice his son that day?

So it was just a big game? Abraham knew it wasn't for real?

JC Masterpiece said...

Abraham knew that God had promised him that he would be the father of many nations. He also knew that God had given him a son well after he was supposed to be able to bear children. He also knew that God told him to sacrifice his son. He did not know what would happen. He just knew that God had made promises to him and had kept them. Thus by faith he knew that even though the science/evidence said otherwise God had made him a promise and would keep it. Thus he trusted God and obeyed placing his loyalty and faith in God above his own understanding and beliefs about life, the world, and those he loved. Thus God blessed him. It was no game. It was Abraham trusting the God that he knew and having faith that He would fulfill His promises.

I will have to go into the rest of this post later.

JC Masterpiece said...

"When you claim to believe in absolute morality, you don't need to justify your moral beliefs in any way except to claim that God or some old book says so." Actually, yahmdallah is on the right track. A person can say I beleive that killing this person is right. The question to ask becomes why. I will go through this as a dialogue.

It was right for me to do this.
Why?
Because God said it is.
Oh really, when did God say that?
(two main options here; scripture or personal revelation)
1) Because the Bible says so.
Oh really, where does the Bible say that?
God tells His people to kill the infidels and he was Muslim.
Oh really, i've read the Bible through many times. i've never come across that passage. In fact in the 10 Commandments it tells us not to murder. In the New Testament it tells us to love our enemies and to pray for those who spitefully use us...

2) God told me last night. He said that i should kill the infidel because he is a fool and a Muslim.
Oh really, and how often does God talk to you?
Every day.
What else does He say.
a. Yesterday He told me that the french poodle two doors down is really a demon...
(This is where this person is required to take anti-psychotic medications.)
b. I know He told me to do this.
That's funny because that goes completely against what the scriptures say. In the scripture God says this and since what you say goes completely against that than i'm inclined to believe that what you believe he said is not really from God.

The "God told me this" line is such a load of crap. It's funny how many times a "good Christian girl" has said to/about a guy "God told me he is/you are the right one for me". When questioned about how much of a relationship the girl has with God it becomes clear that either this was the first time God has ever spoken to her, or last week God had told her that she would marry a completely different guy. It just doesn't work that way. When people hear from God it is because they have built a relationship with Him through prayer, worship, and reading of the word. Then when He does speak to people it is always in line with the scripture. If it doesn't like up with the scripture, than it's probably the person's immagination or worse.

Without something to fall back on all a person has is because it's wrong... because i was taught otherwise... because it's not right for me... because i would not like it if someone did that to me...because the law says so (now there's a good reason)... Ultimately someone who believes in moral relativism can believe in whatever they want with no concern for the truth or the consequences. After all, it's relative.

"this is a good thing, since morals can evolve and be improved by criticism and consensus" OK. So all of my friends say that it's all right, so it must be all right. Society thinks this is all right so it must be.

What a person believes on their own changes so much over their lives due to them changing as a person that 10 years from now your "relative morality" will be completely different from right now. So what's right? How i feel right now of course! After all it's evolving!

Without a moral anchor a person is going to be continually thrown around by the waves of life. A person needs an unchanging moral anchor to keep them stable in the ever changing storms of life. If not they will go in whatever way they are pointing or the storm is blowing, even if that means onto the rocks.

JA Sorry this was so long i try not to do this, but i kind of get carried away.

Jewish Atheist said...

A person needs an unchanging moral anchor to keep them stable in the ever changing storms of life.

I believe that a person must be willing to change when necessary. Indeed, what you believed at 20 may not be what you believe at 30. However, it's possible that at 20 you were wrong. I don't generally quote Maya Angelou, but she has a line which is relevant here: "We did what we knew, and when we knew better, we did better."

David said...

>>Moral relatavists, on the other hand, can make no claims of absolute morality, so their moral beliefs are open to debate.

Once you concede relativism, what exactly would you be debating? You can't debate about "right" and "wrong" because, in this view, the meaning of those terms vary from person to person. When a relativist says, "I think wanton murder is wrong," he means, "Wanton murder is wrong in my moral system." And your moral system has no bearing on me because, well, it's relative. Do you see how absurb this sounds?

>>I'm a firm believer that "Truth" does not exist.

Do I really need to point out the glaring contradiction packed into that sentence? I will anyway, just for fun. Is the statement "Truth does not exist" true? If yes, then truth doesn't exist, so then the statement can't be true. If it's not true, then truth does exist. The statement is necessarily false.

Jewish Atheist said...

Once you concede relativism, what exactly would you be debating? You can't debate about "right" and "wrong" because, in this view, the meaning of those terms vary from person to person.

Sure, a homocidal sociopath and a humanist aren't going to find much common ground, but for people who agree on the basics (e.g. if their morality includes the idea of helping others) they may debate about how morals on a smaller level can contribute to the general version of morality they agree upon. Say you and I agree that suffering should be prevented within reason. We can then debate the euthanasia issue as it relates to our understanding of the part of morality that we agree on.

For example, the founders of the U.S. agreed, at least on paper, to the idea that "All men are created equal." (Never mind the "created" part for now.) However, it took almost two hundred years for people to get it through their heads that the phrase "all men" should include African Americans, Hindus, poor people, and even women. That's an example of moral evolution in action.

Laura said...

Theis seems to me like an unending feedback loop. Personally, I don't care where you "get" your morals - you can base them on scripture, you can base them on your own insight, whatever. What is of importance here is the concept societal morals, which in a civil society, trump personal morals. A society decides by consensus, which morals are worth enforcing and what is moral and immoral. Two people can agree that something is moral and defend that in two different ways. It's the agreement that is important, not the process by which you arrive at your conclusion.

JC Masterpiece said...

Ok, so if two people agree that if someone disrespects them than that person has to pay, than that makes it all right? Sounds like a perfect equation for the development of gangs in the inner city.

Sadie Lou said...

Did everyone miss what david said?

Is the statement "Truth does not exist" true? If yes, then truth doesn't exist, so then the statement can't be true. If it's not true, then truth does exist. The statement is necessarily false.

Can anyone defend this?
David presents you all with a challenge and everybody just kinda lept over it. I'm not sure if it was intentional or if people didn't read it, so I opted to present you with it again.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ok, so if two people agree that if someone disrespects them than that person has to pay, than that makes it all right? Sounds like a perfect equation for the development of gangs in the inner city.

You and I might not agree with their morality, but that is what they believe is right. This particular example would hardly be unusual. The difference between you and me is that you claim their beliefs are absolutely immoral while I claim that they're immoral because they go against what I perceive to be fairness. (I.e. the punishment does not fit the crime.)

Is the statement "Truth does not exist" true? If yes, then truth doesn't exist, so then the statement can't be true. If it's not true, then truth does exist. The statement is necessarily false.

This wasn't my statement, so I won't defend it except to say that there are different kinds of truth. There's "truth," as in logical consistency, which exists, and then there's moral "Truth" or which band is best "Truth" which doesn't.

Put more simply, it's easy to show that lots of things are NOT true (for example if it's self-contradictory), but it's hard to show that anything is true.

JC Masterpiece said...

"You and I might not agree with their morality, but that is what they believe is right. This particular example would hardly be unusual. The difference between you and me is that you claim their beliefs are absolutely immoral while I claim that they're immoral because they go against what I perceive to be fairness. (I.e. the punishment does not fit the crime.)"

So basically what i'm hearing is that gangs and gang mentality are all right as long as a group of people agree with them. Well, then why should we try to deal with the problem of gangs. We should embrace the gangs and let them be themselves.

How about drugs? As long as there are a group of people that accept that all illegal drugs are all right than it shouldn't matter that other people disagree with them. There is no problem. If a few people die of drug overdoses, no big deal. A few rapes and innocent deaths. Eh, that's what those people see as morally acceptable, so who are we to stop them?

I'm sorry, i just don't like where this concept leads.

"This wasn't my statement, so I won't defend it except to say that there are different kinds of truth. There's "truth," as in logical consistency, which exists, and then there's moral "Truth" or which band is best "Truth" which doesn't."

Moral truth doesn't have anything to do with "which band is best". You're attempting to compare music preference to moral truth. That's like trying to compare apples to picture frames. It just doesn't work.
The problem is that David's statement works only too well. It is actually a concept that has been used to refute relative truth for a long time.

Jewish Atheist said...

So basically what i'm hearing is that gangs and gang mentality are all right as long as a group of people agree with them.

You're not hearing me. It's all right according to them, but not all right according to me or you. In a society, we get together and agree on a specific version of morality to enforce.

Jewish Atheist said...

You're attempting to compare music preference to moral truth.

I'm arguing that there is no moral truth. There's only moral preference. However, some morals have more grounding and more internal consistency than others.

Sadie Lou said...

"Put more simply, it's easy to show that lots of things are NOT true (for example if it's self-contradictory), but it's hard to show that anything is true. "

Remember the movie Contact with Jodie Foster?

Do you love your Dad?
Yes, of course.
Prove it.

isn't this the same thing you are asking of Christians?
Christians are telling you the Bible is true and you are asking us to prove it but our proof isn't provable by your measure.
It's the same as if you asked me to prove I love my husband.
It's true--I love him--but how do I prove that to you?
Your standard of what love is, is not my standard.
What we have to do is forget our own, human measures of what truth is--which is relative and speculative--and look at the Bible all by itself to see if it could bear truth on it's own.
I say it can--without my help.

Jewish Atheist said...

Christians are telling you the Bible is true and you are asking us to prove it but our proof isn't provable by your measure.

But Christians make claims more testable than "I love my husband." Some say, for example, that the Universe is only 6000 years old, which is clearly false. Prove that.

JC Masterpiece said...

I'm arguing that there is no moral truth. There's only moral preference. However, some morals have more grounding and more internal consistency than others.
Oh really, so if some morals have more "grounding" and more "internal consistancies", than morals are not as "relative" as you'd make them out to be.

By the way JA, i wanted to appologize. When i responded to your comment The difference between you and me is that you claim their beliefs are absolutely immoral while I claim that they're immoral because they go against what I perceive to be fairness. (I.e. the punishment does not fit the crime.) i responded to the implications to what you said and missed the point of it. In response to the point of your argument. You claim that they're immoral because they go against what you perceive to be fairness. I claim that they're immoral for many reasons;
1) The Bible teaches to love your neighbor as yourself. Thus this goes completely against that.
2) The Bible teaches that selfishness/pride (which is the root of the problem) leads to destruction.
3) They go against "fairness" in that they place their "feelings" about how their "respect" should be treated over the life of the other negating the value of the life of the other. Since all men were created in the image of God, all men have value and their lives have value whether someone "feels like" their "respect" was hurt or not.

Thus while your values are debatable and subject to your whimsey, my morals are anchored in something larger and stronger than i.

Sadie Lou said...

Just like evolutionists make testable claims too. Are you sure that the Grand Canyon is as old as the scientists tell you it is?
Because when I put sand, clay, mud and dirt in a jar with water and shake it all up--I get LAYERS in a day.
If the Grand Canyon's layers were made over thousands of years--why are there cracks, fissures and bones that are vertical through like 10 layers?
It could be because just like the jar: The Grand Canyon happened quickly and perhaps by a huge catalyst of water--like a flood?
The Grand Canyon pretty much destroyes carbon dating. However, evolutionists make some good points too that I don't know how to argue.
My point:
What if there is a little bit of truth to much more than you and I are willing to admit?
That should make us want to know more about God and more about science. Not less about one or the other.

David said...

First of all, thank you Sadie Lou for drawing attention to my argument. I think there's a basic logical inconsistency with relativism that everyone seems to be ignoring. See my post above.

>>However, it took almost two hundred years for people to get it through their heads that the phrase "all men" should include African Americans, Hindus, poor people, and even women. That's an example of moral evolution in action.

JA, correct me if I'm wrong but I assume you believe that including African Americans, Hindus, poor people, and women in the phrase "all men" represents an improvement in our morality. The problem is that you can't justify it from a relativistic perspective. What makes your position on equality better than the Founders'? Without some objective measure with which to judge, you're forced to conclude that slavery, for example, is only wrong because we all say it is. Which implies that white slaveowners in 1820 were in fact morally justified as long as their position was internally consistent.

Jewish Atheist said...

Oh really, so if some morals have more "grounding" and more "internal consistancies", than morals are not as "relative" as you'd make them out to be.

I never said they're relative. I said there is no single, absolute morality. Some are "better" than others because they are more consistent or grounded or what have you.

Thus while your values are debatable and subject to your whimsey, my morals are anchored in something larger and stronger than i.

Yours are anchored in something which is itself unanchored. Religious people even of the same religion believe that the Bible means different things with regard to morality. Moreover, I don't believe that the Bible is from God, so I can't agree that the Bible is "larger and stronger" than you. "The Bible said so" is no more an anchor than "Nietzhe said so" or "Jewish Atheist said so."

Jewish Atheist said...

What makes your position on equality better than the Founders'?

I believe that my position on equality is more self-consistent than the founders'. I agree with the sentiment that "all men are equal" but I don't see a reason to arbitrarily exclude some people from the term "men."

Without some objective measure with which to judge, you're forced to conclude that slavery, for example, is only wrong because we all say it is.

It's not only wrong because we all say it is. I believe that it is wrong because I believe that all men are equal. It logically follows that no man should own another. Other people may disagree with me -- and do. I believe that they are immoral since their morality doesn't match my morality. However, they may believe the same about me (and probably do.)

It's a messy situation, but I didn't make it.

Jewish Atheist said...

Just like evolutionists make testable claims too.

But they do. Here are some examples:

1) They claim, for example, that a small population of organisms subjected to pressure for survival will evolve. This can be tested in the laboratory with bacteria or fruit flies. It can also be inferred from observing species in the wild, for example Darwin's finches of the Galapagos.

2) They also claim that organisms which are more related will have more similar DNA. This can be tested by taking animals believed to be evolutionarily related and testing their DNA.

3) They also claim that all animals on Earth are related. This may be tested with DNA evidence as well as comparitive chemistry and microbiology.

4) They also claim that mutations occur. Easily verified.

5) They claim that some mutations are inherited. Easily verified.

6) They claim that organisms have evolved over time. This may be verified with fossil evidence. This could be falsified by finding human fossils, for example, which are older than the first primate fossils.

What are the Creationists' testable claims?



If the Grand Canyon's layers were made over thousands of years--why are there cracks, fissures and bones that are vertical through like 10 layers?

Why can't you make a crack through 10 layers? How could a bone be vertical through 10 layers? How big is this bone and how small are the layers?

You can create layers of mud in a jar, but can you create layers of hard, solid rock that are tens or hundreds of feet high? Have you seen the painted desert? How could water have "quickly" formed the Grand Canyon? There's no Grand Canyon in New Orleans or where the big tsunami hit.

That should make us want to know more about God and more about science. Not less about one or the other.

I agree whole-heartedly. I don't believe in God, but if I suddenly found convincing evidence (for example if God appeared to me and I was convinced I wasn't hallucinating or if He suddenly spelled out His name with stars or if He had a prophet who made clear, unambiguous predictions which repeatedly came true) I would want to learn as much as possible about it. I'm interested in what's true.

Sadie Lou said...

"I don't believe that the Bible is from God, so I can't agree that the Bible is "larger and stronger" than you. "The Bible said so" is no more an anchor than "Nietzhe said so" or "Jewish Atheist said so."
You are welcome David. I plan to visit your blog, next.

JA--
Aside from who you think the Bible was written by, what is it about it's ideology that you find so offensive?
Let's put aside everything else in the Bible except for the teachings of Christ.
What is so hard to swallow?
Do you think Christ was a real person?
If yes, was he a liar or insane, because he'd have to be either one or both of those things.
If No,
who do you think penned his teachings?
Just curious.

Jewish Atheist said...

Aside from who you think the Bible was written by, what is it about it's ideology that you find so offensive?

I don't find it all offensive. Some of the teachings like the Golden Rule and feeding the hungry are nice. Some parts I find offensive, like calling gay sex an abomination or saying that slavery is okay or condoning genocide.


Let's put aside everything else in the Bible except for the teachings of Christ.


Ok.

What is so hard to swallow?

I find it easy to swallow a lot of Jesus' teachings. However, I find it hard to swallow that he was the son of God, that he rose from the dead, and that he performed miracles.

Do you think Christ was a real person?

Probably, although I'm not 100% convinced.

If yes, was he a liar or insane, because he'd have to be either one or both of those things.

First, you should give credit for your argument to C.S. Lewis, who penned the "Lord, Liar, Lunatic" argument. I believe that IF Jesus existed AND he said he was the son of God, for example, then he was either a liar or mistaken. It's also possible that he was insane. Lots of insane people believe that they're God.

If No, who do you think penned his teachings?

Well, even Christians believe that Jesus didn't pen his teachings, but rather the apostles did. I don't have a problem with believing that various people wrote down what Jesus had supposedly said a few generations earlier.

Sadie Lou said...

"First, you should give credit for your argument to C.S. Lewis, who penned the "Lord, Liar, Lunatic" argument. I believe that IF Jesus existed AND he said he was the son of God, for example, then he was either a liar or mistaken. It's also possible that he was insane. Lots of insane people believe that they're God."


Why should I give credit to CS Lewis? It's been adopted as a frequently used argument for longer than I've been alive. Everyone knows where that argument came from.
*sheesh*
Sorry, next time I don't have a free thought, I'll give credit to whomever thought it first--wait, are any of my thoughts free?
*wink* just kidding.

okay--
Question based on your answer: Are there any other insane people that taught people how to live their lives that you actually agree with?

"Well, even Christians believe that Jesus didn't pen his teachings, but rather the apostles did."

Well one apostle in particular said that all Scripture is God breathed.
The apostles would tell you that they penned the New Tesiment but that God "wrote" it through their hand.
Since you don't have a problem with them writing it, do you have a problem with the idea of God instructing their words?
Or do you think the apostles interjected their own ideologies where they thought it was needed even though the Bible explains a a very dangerous thing would be to tamper with the Bible.

Jewish Atheist said...

Are there any other insane people that taught people how to live their lives that you actually agree with?

I guess it depends on how you define "insane." Lots of great thinkers have had mental illnesses of one sort or another. Here's a whole page about religious figures who may have had epilepsy. (The idea being that they understood their seizures as religious experiences.)

The apostles would tell you that they penned the New Tesiment but that God "wrote" it through their hand.

Homer would tell you that he wrote The Oddysey but the Muses "wrote" it through his hand. Do you believe him, too?

Or do you think the apostles interjected their own ideologies where they thought it was needed even though the Bible explains a a very dangerous thing would be to tamper with the Bible.

Of course they did. Except they believed that their own ideology was in agreement with the Bible. Paul in particular is known for interjecting a lot of what can only be assumed to be his own ideology into Jesus' message.

Sadie Lou said...

epilepsy is not considered to make one "insane", I mean insane by every sense of the word because frankly, Jesus showed no symptoms of being insane.
If you want to say he was a liar, then it still baffles me why you think his teachings are so great. Liars are not considered to be stand up, moral guys, ya know?
I'm trying to get you to admit that Jesus was who He said he was or He was a quack. There isn't any other way to see it.
You can't tell me you think he was a great human being--he just happened to think he was the son of God. That formula doesn't apply to anyone else.
People who say they are God or the Son of God, are weirdos--but not Jesus. He was fine besides that Son of God nonsense, right?


Paul was chosen by God. Anything you view as interjection would be God using Paul as a mouthpiece, not unlike the prophets of the Old Testiment but I guess the Bible is chalk full of nuts then, by your standard of crazy.

I have another question:
You have a problem with homosexuality being a sin.
Do you have a problem with murder? lying? cheating? slander? gossip?
wait...probably not.

any other sexual sins?
howabout rape? adultry? molestation?
How is homosexuality any different than those sexual sins?
is it because it's a lifestyle instead of just a sex thing? God doesn't hate homosexuals--just the sin. You have the luxery of choosing what you like and don't like about the Bible. Christians don't. It's all or nothing.

Jewish Atheist said...

I'm trying to get you to admit that Jesus was who He said he was or He was a quack. There isn't any other way to see it.

You are leaving out the possibility that he was sane, but for whatever reason, came to believe he was the son of God. Much like the religious figures with epilepsy.

However, I think the most likely scenario is that there was a Jewish Rabbi named Jesus who preached a very different kind of Judaism. He never claimed to be the son of God and never performed miracles. He had a lot of followers and was killed in a gruesome manner. Stories were told and embellished, and a hundred years or more later, a few people wrote down their versions of their story.

Paul was chosen by God.

How do you know this? From Paul himself? Was Homer chosen by the Muses?

Do you have a problem with murder? lying? cheating? slander? gossip? ... any other sexual sins? howabout rape? adultry? molestation? How is homosexuality any different than those sexual sins?

There's a very, very simple answer. In all of those sins EXCEPT homosexuality, there is a victim. Someone murdered or lied to or molested or raped or slandered or gossiped about or cheated on is being harmed without their consent. Someone in a consensual homosexual relationship is not harmed against their consent (or, in my opinion, with it.) Why is this so hard to understand?

Sadie Lou said...

They are hurting themselves. In all sin--it is the sinner that is the most at risk because he is visiting apon himself/herself, the wrath of God for sin not repented of.
The victim is victimized in this life time, yes, but not in the eternal.

Homosexuality is victimless--yes because both parties are consenting adults but the sin is hurting them on an individual level--just like all those other sins.
There are other victimless sins. That doesn't make them any less a sin.

Jewish Atheist said...

That's the root of our disagreement. I don't believe that there are any victimless sins.

Jewish Atheist said...

And you didn't answer my questions about Homer.

JC Masterpiece said...

You can create layers of mud in a jar, but can you create layers of hard, solid rock that are tens or hundreds of feet high? Have you seen the painted desert? How could water have "quickly" formed the Grand Canyon? There's no Grand Canyon in New Orleans or where the big tsunami hit.
How long has it been since Mt. St. Hellens erupted? Two decades? Yet there is a canyon similar to the Grand Canyon formed in weeks time going through thick layers of rock. This is something scientists prior to the eruption would have said is impossible. Yet there it is. Somehow it happened. Somehow it broke all realm of possibility. It exists and it cannot be denied... unless of course you want to say that Mt. St. Hellens erupted 4 million years ago. If that's the case than you have a completely different set of problems.

Jewish Atheist said...

JC Masterpiece, allow me to quote from talkorigins.org:


# The Grand Canyon (and canyons further up and down the Colorado River) is more than 100,000 times larger than the canyon on Mount St. Helens. The two are not really comparable.

# The sediments on Mount St. Helens were unconsolidated volcanic ash, which is easily eroded. The Grand Canyon was carved into harder materials, including well-consolidated sandstone and limestone, hard metamorphosed sediments (the Vishnu schist), plus a touch of relatively recent basalt.

# The walls of the Mount St. Helens canyon slope 45 degrees. The walls of the Grand Canyon are vertical in places.

# The canyon was not entirely formed suddenly. The canyon along Toutle River has a river continuously contributing to its formation. Another canyon also cited as evidence of catastrophic erosion is Engineer's Canyon, which was formed via water pumped out of Spirit Lake over several days by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

# The streams flowing down Mount St. Helens flow at a steeper grade than the Colorado River does, allowing greater erosion.

Sadie Lou said...

"There's a very, very simple answer. In all of those sins EXCEPT homosexuality, there is a victim."

You said this yourself. You are contradicting yourself. The root of our problem is that you said homosexuality has no victims and I proved you wrong saying that the victim in all sin is SELF.
You're confusing me.

and I'll answer your question on Homer when I learn what it is you're asking me. It's been a long time since I read anything by Homer.

Jewish Atheist said...

The root of our problem is that you said homosexuality has no victims and I proved you wrong saying that the victim in all sin is SELF.

Saying that the victim in all sin is SELF is not proving me wrong, it's making a statement which is plainly false. If I kill a random stranger, the victim is the stranger. Don't give me some mumbo-jumbo about the afterlife. A man's dead, and it's not me. If a man has consensual sex with another man, there is no victim.

I'll answer your question on Homer when I learn what it is you're asking me.

You said God was writing through Paul and you believe this because Paul said so. I pointed out that Homer said that the Muses were writing through him. I was wondering if you believed Homer, and if not, why you believe Paul.

Sadie Lou said...

Agh! READ what I WRITE, dude!

"They are hurting themselves. In all sin--it is the sinner that is the most at risk because he is visiting apon himself/herself, the wrath of God for sin not repented of.
The victim is victimized in this life time, yes, but not in the eternal.

Homosexuality is victimless--yes because both parties are consenting adults but the sin is hurting them on an individual level--just like all those other sins.
There are other victimless sins. That doesn't make them any less a sin."


to which you said:
"That's the root of our disagreement. I don't believe that there are any victimless sins."

You totally contradict yourself by saying first, that homosexuality has no victims to>> you believe there are no victimless sin.

Really?

Which is it?

Watch a woman strip at a strip club: Victims or no victims? Both the viewer and the stripper are there on their own, free will. You say victimless I say, they are hurting themselves.

Now are we on the same page?
Yes, if a man kills another man there is a victim, yes. That wasn't what I was saying orginally if you read what I said.
The victim is a victim in this life time, but the murderer/sinner is the victim eternally.
There are two victims.

moving on!

Like I said: I need to understand that Homer/Muses thing a little better first. I don't know that story. I know The Odessey, but not Homer and Muses.

Jewish Atheist said...

You totally contradict yourself by saying first, that homosexuality has no victims to you believe there are no victimless sin.

I don't believe homosexuality is a sin BECAUSE there is no victim. I don't believe that anything which has no victim is a sin.

Like I said: I need to understand that Homer/Muses thing a little better first.

It's the first line in the Odyssey:
"Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story..." In other words, Homer believes the Muse is speaking through him just as Paul believes that God is speaking through him. I'm asking if you believe Homer as well as Paul. If not, why not?

Godol Hador said...

> Certainly, over the past 1000 years, Western morality has generally improved with some noteable (and enormous) setbacks.

I'm sorry, but you can't say 'improve'. It has changed. There is no better or worse, it's all entirely subjective according to you. 1000 years ago there was one set of moral rules, and now there is a different set. That's all.

Jewish Atheist said...

I'm sorry, but you can't say 'improve'. It has changed. There is no better or worse, it's all entirely subjective according to you. 1000 years ago there was one set of moral rules, and now there is a different set. That's all.

It has improved according to my morality, which includes the idea that all people are equal.

JC Masterpiece said...

The Grand Canyon (and canyons further up and down the Colorado River) is more than 100,000 times larger than the canyon on Mount St. Helens. The two are not really comparable

Yeah, when you count length and depth. The one in Wyoming covers a distance within a single state. The Grand canyon crosses multiple states. That doesn't make them any more incomparable than a granite hill vs. a granite mountain.

# The sediments on Mount St. Helens were unconsolidated volcanic ash, which is easily eroded. The Grand Canyon was carved into harder materials,

The canyon goes alot deeper than just the vocanic ash. It also cuts through the solidified magma and hard rock underneath.

# The walls of the Mount St. Helens canyon slope 45 degrees. The walls of the Grand Canyon are vertical in places.

Maybe so, but assuming a worldwide flood (which all cultures of that ancient era recognized in their histories) and the receding waters thereof the development of such a canyon would be more than feasible.

# The canyon was not entirely formed suddenly. The canyon along Toutle River has a river continuously contributing to its formation. Another canyon also cited as evidence of catastrophic erosion is Engineer's Canyon, which was formed via water pumped out of Spirit Lake over several days by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The point being?... Hmm, i could have sworn that the Grand Canyon had a river flowing through it too! Oh wait!...

# The streams flowing down Mount St. Helens flow at a steeper grade than the Colorado River does, allowing greater erosion.

Yes, and the majority of the canyon formed in a matter of weeks. Thus that river would have to be awfully fast and steep if you're justifying those two excuses for it.

JC Masterpiece said...

It has improved according to my morality, which includes the idea that all people are equal

Ha, ha, ha, ha! I started writing a comment on this, but it rather quickly got way too long. So i started a new post on my blog inspired by it.

http://jcmasterpiece.blogspot.com/

Orthoprax said...

Holy crap! JA is actually debating YECs! Makes me want to bash my head into a wall.

Sadie Lou said...

I don't believe homosexuality is a sin BECAUSE there is no victim. I don't believe that anything which has no victim is a sin.

Every sinner is a victim for God's wrath.
I have told you this countless times.
A man can be a drug addict, which we know is wrong and you would agree, and he can sit in his house and not harm a hair on anyone else's head.
Is this man sinning?
Is this man sinning or doing something wrong even though he isn't hurting anyone else?
The answer is yes, he is still sinning.
Drug addiction isn't only wrong because it destroys the lives of those around you but because it destroys your own life as well.
As far as the Homer thing:

You mean this line in the opening?

"Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns

driven time and again off course, once he had plundered

the hallowed heights of Troy.

"Many cities of men he saw and learned their minds,

many pains he suffered, heartsick on the open sea,

fighting to save his life and bring his comrades home.

But he could not save them from disaster, hard as he strove -

the recklessness of their own ways destroyed them all,

the blind fools, they devoured the cattle of the Sun

and the Sungod blotted out the day of their return.

"Launch out on his story, Muse, daughter of Zeus,

start from where you will - sing for our time too."



There is a reason this is called Greek Mythology.

I don't believe in Zeus--I believe in God.

Jewish Atheist said...

A man can be a drug addict, which we know is wrong and you would agree, and he can sit in his house and not harm a hair on anyone else's head.
Is this man sinning?


No, he's not sinning. Being a drug addict is not a moral failing, it's simply bad for you. (Well, it's immoral in the sense that breaking the law of the land is immoral, perhaps, but if it's a legal drug like alcohol it wouldn't be.) If he chooses to do cocaine rather than taking care of his son, there is a victim, so in that case I would call it a sin. However, if he is truly addicted and CAN'T control himself, then it is not a sin regardless of who he hurts since it is not his fault.

There is a reason this is called Greek Mythology. I don't believe in Zeus--I believe in God.

It wasn't mythology to them. They believed Zeus was a God, just like you believe Jesus/YHWH is God. Why don't you believe in Zeus? Probably for the same reason I don't believe in your God.

Jewish Atheist said...

Every sinner is a victim for God's wrath.

If that is the case, it is God who is the ultimate sinner, for He is punishing someone for doing no harm.

Laura said...

"So basically what i'm hearing is that gangs and gang mentality are all right as long as a group of people agree with them."

JC: Wrong. I said social consensus, not a consensus of an individual group. Take Mormons - to some Mormons, polygamy is "moral". They defend that morality in terms of their religious belief. Society at large agrees that that is NOT moral activity and therefore declares it illegal. See the difference? Society can change its mind as well. In light of new evidence about, for instance, the death penalty, social consensus seems to be shifting to the IMMORALITY of this practice. If enough people agree, it will become law to declare it illegal.

As for the "Truth" statement - I didn't say that "the TRUTH" is that there is no truth. I said "I Believe". That is an opinion and I don't hold others to my opinions. I simply request that my opinions be held just as valid as everyone else's. But my beliefs can't be "valid" if the predominant ideology holds itself as "absolute truth" see?

David said...

>>As for the "Truth" statement - I didn't say that "the TRUTH" is that there is no truth. I said "I Believe".

So you believe that the truth is that there is no truth? How does that solve the contradiction? Do I have to go through it again? Is the statement "I believe that there is no truth" itself true? If yes, then you believe that there is no truth and it can't be true.

JC Masterpiece said...

I said social consensus, not a consensus of an individual group.

The consensus of a group is a social consensus. When you have multiple groups that each have the same consesus (gangs) that increases that social consensus power.

I didn't say that "the TRUTH" is that there is no truth. I said "I Believe".

I'm a firm believer that "Truth" does not exist.

Unfortunately the principle still applies. "Is the statement 'Truth does not exist' (as you believe) true? If yes, then truth doesn't exist, so then the statement can't be true. If it's not true, then truth does exist. The statement is necessarily false.

The problem is that if, as you believe, truth doesn't exist, and it really doesn't, than it wouldn't exist for anyone.
To believe that it doesn't for you is like saying that you don't beleive that the White House exists. Whether you beleive it or not, it is there. Your not believing in it doesn't change it. If it didn't exist it would not exist for anyone. If truth does not exist. It does not exist. You believing that it doesn't exist for you but that it could exist for someone else doesn't make it true. It either exists, or it doesn't.

Laura said...

It all depends on what you define "truth" as. if it's an absolute, unchanging concept - then realistically it does not exist. Nothing is constant. What people held to be true 500 years ago isn't necessarily true today. The Church taught the "Truth" that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Well, we know that's not true anymore. Therefore an absolute truth doesn't exist, at least not in terms of the world and the universe and everything in it. There can only exist truth if we think we know every possible piece of data to evaluate a situation. What people generally refer to as "truth" is only their own narrow perception of truth, based on data availble to them. If two people can have two conflicting truths, then absolute truth cannot exist.

As for the social consensus - you are TOTALLY missing the point. Sure, a gang of thugs is a form of social consensus. But in our society, our moral codes are reflected in our laws, and our laws are codes of conduct agreed upon by a significant number of citizens. What is generally accepted as moral behavior is rewarded and what is not is punished based on our legal codes. If the consensus changes, the law can be changed. Morals are not absolute.

JC Masterpiece said...

It all depends on what you define "truth" as. if it's an absolute, unchanging concept - then realistically it does not exist.

The Church taught the "Truth" that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Well, we know that's not true anymore. Therefore an absolute truth doesn't exist, at least not in terms of the world and the universe and everything in it.


So if i said that the earth revolved around the sun i would not be speaking the truth? So than i guess everything is relative. So if i kill someone than their death is relative. I say or believe it didn't really happen so it didn't. I can jump out the window and i will fly because gravity doesn't really exist because then that would be truth. Wow, you just totally changed my life! I think i'm going to go for a fly!

I'm sorry but that is rediculous. It sounds like what you're referring to is our understanding of the truth being a changing concept. Truth doesn't normally change. The church leaders believed that the sun revolved around the earth. In reality the problem was the church leaders perception of the truth.
If it was as you claim, then when the church leaders, and masses, believed the earth revolved around the sun it did. When they started believing that the earth revolved around the sun it began to do so.

There can only exist truth if we think we know every possible piece of data to evaluate a situation.
So truth doesn't exist unless we know about it?

our moral codes are reflected in our laws, and our laws are codes of conduct agreed upon by a significant number of citizens.

True, the moral codes are reflected in the law... sometimes.
Laws are agreed upon by legal representatives of a significant number of citizens. The reality is that those representatives can reflect the will of the majority of the people they represent (sometime), what's in the best interest of the majority of those people, their own will (usually), or the will of those who financially back them (usually).

For instance, when the issue of changing the constitutionality of marriage to ban homosexuality from marriage, the majority of people supported that. The law makers did not. It was not in their best interest to take a stand on the issue, nor was it in the best interest of their financial backers. Thus the will of the people was overridden by the desires of the lawmakers.

Sadie Lou said...

"However, if he is truly addicted and CAN'T control himself, then it is not a sin regardless of who he hurts since it is not his fault."

You might want to rethink that one. A sociopath can't 'help' his tendancies either. So I guess a serial killer, ragaurdless of who they hurt, aren't sinners either because they can't help it and it's not their fault.
I love that.
That is so rich.
If you can't help it, then it's not your fault.
It's that kind of mentality that lends to people running around doing horrible things and then blaming everything on thier parents and their childhood.
Zero accountability and responsibility--wonderful ideology.

I don't remember the history books calling my religion "Biblical Mythology"
I don't believe in zeus because I don't believe he makes thunderbolts and throws them down at the earth--among other silly things.
Men have come a long way in science and now we know where thunderbolts come from.*wink*

Jewish Atheist said...

I don't remember the history books calling my religion "Biblical Mythology"

Your history books were written by people living in a predominately Christian country. Do you think Greek history books referred to Zeus as mythology?

I don't believe in zeus because I don't believe he makes thunderbolts and throws them down at the earth--among other silly things.

I don't believe in God because I don't believe in a 6-day creation, that the world is only 6000 years old, or talking snakes--among other silly things.

dbackdad said...

I'm almost sad that I hadn't entered the fray until now. You had to figure that JC would get in here and try to attack science by using science (history of the Grand Canyon).

And the debate on homosexuality is always contentious. I just consider it silly to attack something that is a genetic predisposition by saying it is immoral or a sin. Sin implies a deliberate disobedience of God's will. No one that has ever known anybody that is gay can honestly tell me that they believe that person made the choice to be gay.

And like always, we have veered way off topic. What the hell was the original post anyway JA? :-)

Sadie Lou said...

I don't believe in God because I don't believe in a 6-day creation, that the world is only 6000 years old, or talking snakes--among other silly things.


now THAT is the root of our disagreement.
*smiling*
whew.
this was a good one. i'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.

dbackdad--
genetic predisposition?
try inheriting a fallen nature from adam--now that's a genetic predisposition. we are vipers in diapers, friend. even the little baby i hold in my lap right now needs a savior.

JC Masterpiece said...

I'm almost sad that I hadn't entered the fray until now.

Actually i was surprised that you hadn't. Especially since you had linked to the post. For a little bit there yesterday i was tempted to e-mail JA and ask him if he wanted me to call for a temporary cease fire so you could get back from whatever you were doing. He was appearing to get more than a little flustered out here mostly by himself and looked like he needed the backup. Unfortunately i didn't have the time to do it. Things have slowed down somewhat since then and JA has been able to get his bearings again. Needless to say, either way it's good to have you in the debate.

JC Masterpiece said...

And the debate on homosexuality is always contentious. I just consider it silly to attack something that is a genetic predisposition by saying it is immoral or a sin.

Ah, i have written a couple of papers on this topic. One of my professors even asked me if he could use one of my papers as a resource for a debate he was involved in on this topic, so if you really want to get into this topic be my guest. There are "genetic predispositions" that gay men have with each other. That by no way proves that homosexuality is genetic in nature. That "genetic predisposition" could easily equal being effeminate which leads everyone around them believing them to be gay and causing them to question their sexuality. There is also plenty of research (sometimes the exact same research that is used to support the "genetic predispositon" theory) that supports a view that homosexuality has an environmental component.

Just as one simple example of the proof for environmental homosexuality. All you have to do is look at prisons and the military. If homosexuality is really "genetic" in nature than why can men who are in prison/the military choose (we're not talking about being someone else's slave here) to be involved in the homosexual lifestyle then when they leave prison never be interested in a homosexual relationship ever again? Is that genetic in nature? Those that say that all homosexuals have no choice in the matter and it isn't a lifestyle choice are either ignoring many of the facts, believe the media hype, or are trying to pull the wool over other peoples eyes.

JC Masterpiece said...

You had to figure that JC would get in here and try to attack science by using science (history of the Grand Canyon).

Hey, don't blame me. I was not planning on mentioning anything of the sort untill JA asked "How could water have "quickly" formed the Grand Canyon? There's no Grand Canyon in New Orleans or where the big tsunami hit. in response to someone else's comments.

And like always, we have veered way off topic.

You've added to this by bringing up your comments about homosexuality... Just pointing it out.

dbackdad said...

Guilty as charged. I'd definitely love to get into a discussion on the nature/causes of homosexuality but this thread is not the place. We'll revisit it when one of us has a relevant post.

JC Masterpiece said...

Sounds like fun dback. Untill next time.